Daimler sketches future transport platform for goods and people

Daimler sketches future transport platform for goods and people

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The Vision Urbancetic, which the German luxury vehicle manufacturer recently presented in Copenhagen, removes the distinction between passenger transport and freight transport. It is intended to enable the sustainable and efficient transport of passengers and goods in line with demand – in each case with different bodies.

The vehicle is intended to be a member of Daimler’s Van product family. It operates autonomously and is based on a fully electric chassis with various interchangeable bodies. As a ride-sharing vehicle, the Vision Urbancetic can carry up to twelve passengers, and up to ten EPAL pallets can be transported in the cargo module. With a vehicle length of 5.14 metres, a load compartment length of 3.70 metres was achieved. In addition, the concept integrates an IT infrastructure that analyses supply and demand in a defined mobility space in real time. The result is an autonomous fleet whose routes are planned flexibly and efficiently on the basis of current transport requirements.

Thanks to full networking, evaluation of local information and intelligent control, the system can not only analyze current requirements, but also learn from them. This enables the system to anticipate and react to future requirements. This enables processes to be optimized and, for example, waiting or delivery times to be shortened and congestion to be avoided. For example, the overall system recognizes a group of people in a certain area via data acquisition in the Vehicle Control Center. It can then proactively send vehicles there in order to directly intercept the increased demand and serve it quickly and efficiently. The system can therefore react flexibly and is not based on rigid routes or fixed schedules.

The modules can be changed either automatically or manually and only take a few minutes in an automated process. The prerequisite for this is an autonomously moving platform on which the respective superstructures are anchored. All driving functions are accommodated in this platform, so that the autonomous chassis can reach the next place of operation without the need for a superstructure. Safety-relevant components such as brakes and steering are designed redundantly.

The Vision Urbanetic’s basis module carries
either a passenger or a cargo compartment. 

Using various camera and sensor systems, the vehicle perceives its surroundings fully and actively communicates with them. Pedestrians crossing the road in front of it are informed by the generous display in the front of the vehicle that they have been noticed by means of special animations. Another highlight in this context is the digital shadowing in the area of the side door. Several hundred light units signal to the approaching persons that they have been recognized and thus contours are represented schematically on the outer shell.

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