Mercedes has a new autonomous, electric pod concept

By topgear, 14 September 2018

Yep, it’s that time where we ask: “which manufacturer has come up with some weird bubble-themed concept to try and reinvent the idea of a car this week?”

Not to give away any spoilers, but Mercedes has now introduced its Vision Urbanetic designs, which, surprise surprise, are a “completely new mobility concept for on-demand, efficient, comfortable and sustainable mobility.”

Essentially, it’s a self-driving, electric chassis with different bodies to attach, to move either people or stuff. The car body attachment can take 12 people, while the van bit has a load space capable of carrying 10 pallets.

Every time we go to write some cutting-edge evaluation, the press release rises up and we can’t take our eyes off it. There are words like ‘fully networked’, ‘ecosystems’, ‘modules’. You’ve seen the gist of these things by now. With an autonomous base, the electric-skateboard-chassis-thing doesn’t need to have a driver’s cabin, front-facing seats or any legal interior layouts, promoting social seating and flexibility. And no engine means more space for many things.