The concept in freighter form

The concept in freighter form

Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Vans has shown its Vision Urbanetic mobility concept at the commercial vehicles IAA in Hanover, revealing more details and a testing partnership after first showing the product in Copenhagen on 10 September.

Again the media release writers gush. The concept, they claim, "goes way beyond existing ideas on autonomous vehicles" and "removes the separation between people moving and goods transportation. The concept reduces traffic flows, relieves city-centre infrastructures and contributes to a new quality of urban life".

As already announced, the vanmaker is planning a new range of autonomous vehicles, based on an all-electric chassis, to shift either people or goods. A new unit will develop and launch the product line.

Daimler revealed it was field testing "technology elements" with BASF studying electric mobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving to focus more on individual customer needs.

BASF soon will introduce on-demand ride sharing at its Ludwigshafen facility using technology from ViaVan, a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and US startup Via. Further projects include an electric, fully connected and autonomous shuttle on the factory site.

"The aim of our far-reaching cooperation with BASF is to expand our ridesharing service with autonomous components and thereby make logistics at the Ludwigshafen plant even more efficient as well as more convenient for employees", Mercedes said.

The basis is an autonomous, electric platform with interchangeable bodies for people or goods transport "embedded in a self learning IT infrastructure".

Up to 12 passengers or 10 EPAL palettes can be carried with a load length of 3.7m in overall length of 5.14m. The IT infrastructure analyses supply and demand so the autonomous fleet operates on routes based on current needs.

The system can use data captured by the Vehicle Control Centre to identify a gathering of people in a specific area and proactively send vehicles to directly address the increased need. The system is not based on rigid routes or fixed timetables.

Daimler also announced deliveries of the electric eVito will commence at the end of the year with the eSprinter following in 2019.

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