Category Archives: Autonomous Vehicles

Volkswagen’s Latest Project: The AI Car

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Volkswagen’s Latest Project: The AI Car

“The next three or four years will be decisive,” says Chief Digital Officer at Volkswagen Johann Jungwirth on the reinvention of the car.

At the CeBIT Global Conferences, he explained what VW is working on and what role artificial intelligence will play for the car of tomorrow.

Let’s start with what Jungwirth did NOT speak about at the Sakura Stage in Hall 8: alternative engines. That was it really. Instead, the Volkswagen CDO showed, in fast-forward, how the corporation is digitizing its core business. The key term here was artificial intelligence. “AI is everywhere and it will take on a central role in the car of the future,” states Jungwirth. No one expects it to replace humans, but to complement us where it can – in the dashboard, for example.

“Today you have to push seven or eight buttons before you find what you’re looking for on the in-car entertainment system. We want to reduce that number to one – if not zero.” With this, he means to say that our voices and gestures will come to control far more than just the sat nav. The car recognizes its driver’s expressions, mood, and destination. By monitoring location data and road behavior, the user experience adapts to each specific situation.

Self-Driving Cars Right to Your Door

“The engine used to represent the heart of a car, but the autonomous driving system will soon take over.” AI is of course central here as well. The self-driving car is expected to make transport safer, preventing over a million traffic-related deaths a year. It should make parking easier, too. According to Jungwirth, we waste a third of our time in cars looking for parking spots. The autonomous vehicle would solve this problem by dropping the passenger off at their front door before finding a place to park by itself. It could then be summoned back at the touch of a button.

And discussions on parking didn’t end there. Huge car parks have long been required in highly-developed cities. But Jungwirth claims that in a couple of years only a seventh of these will be necessary. This is because fewer people will be buying cars, with the preference shifting towards using them only on demand. “For 96 percent of the time, cars just sit there,” states Jungwirth. An autonomous shared vehicle would be almost permanently in motion, dropping one passenger off and immediately locating the next – like a self-driving taxi. VW is the first company to develop this kind of mobility concept – which it has given the working title “Sedric” (self-driving car).

Will it remain just a concept? Yes, most likely. But a whole host of Sedric-inspired ideas will undoubtedly become reality – perhaps even in the next three to four years.

Find out more about Sedric and the CeBIT Global Conferences .

Source: CeBIT

 

Driverless Vehicles Demoed in Formula E

 

Roborace unveiled its Robocar at MWC’s ‘Connected Vehicles’ keynote, with CEO Denis Sverdlov stating the initiative will push the industry to improve driverless and autonomous vehicles.

He also believes driverless car racing will help people accept robots on the street, and is a great way to show the public the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI).

“It was very important for us that we created an emotional connection to driverless cars and bring humans and robots closer together to define our future,” he said.

Software engineers will be the “true heroes” of the initiative, which is a “fair competition” of intelligence rather than budget, as all teams have the same Robocar to work with – in order to win they have to focus entirely on the software.

So far, Roborace has performed demos with ‘Devbots’, which completed 12 driverless laps in Morocco. Despite a recent crash, Sverdlov is confident in the technology, adding that accidents will only help improve learning.

The car, designed by Daniel Simon, who created vehicles for Hollywood sci-fi films like Tron Legacy, uses a number of technologies to drive itself including two radars and six AI cameras, and makes up to 24 trillion AI operations per second.

The Roborace series takes place on Formula E city street circuits.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said all the big auto companies, like Audi, Renault and Mahindra, want their teams to win and this pushes them to invest resources into improving electric cars, and this will play a big role in boosting the autonomous car industry.

Source: Mobile World Live

Germany, France agree on transnational self-driving test zone

In a bid to win the race to develop self-driving cars and give a leg-up to their automakers over their rivals from Silicon Valley, the two EU nations have joined hands to test the cars on a stretch of road linking them.

Daimler Trucks LKW autonomes Fahren (Daimler AG - Global Communications Commercial Vehicles)

European neighbors Germany and France plan to test self-driving vehicles on a section of road linking the two countries, the transport ministry in Berlin said Wednesday.

The route stretches around 70 kilometers (43 miles), from Merzig in Germany’s western Saarland state to Metz in eastern France. It is aimed at testing “automated and connected driving in real cross-border traffic,” the ministry noted.

“Manufacturers will be able to test the connectivity of their systems, for example when lanes or speed limits change at the border,” German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said in a statement following a meeting with his French counterpart Alain Vidalies.

“We want to set worldwide standards for this key technology through cooperation between Europe’s two biggest car-producing countries,” he added.

The route will allow testing of 5G wireless communications between cars and infrastructure, automated maneuvers such as overtaking and braking, and emergency warning and call systems, among others.

An automated future?

Germany, home to car giants such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, already boasts a number of test zones for automated vehicles on motorways and in cities, but this is the first that will cross into another country.

The transport ministry has offered 100 million euros ($107 million) in funding for the projects.

The tests come as the nation’s traditional carmakers are racing to catch up to Silicon Valley newcomers such as Tesla, Uber and Google parent company Alphabet in the new field, seen as the future of driving.

Automated trucks in particular are expected to shake up the road transport sector in the years to come.

In a glimpse of what lies ahead, manufacturers took part in an experiment last year that saw six convoys of “smart” trucks cross several European countries using “platooning,” in which a leading truck sets the route and speed for wirelessly-connected self-driving followers.

sri/uhe (AFP, Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure)

Source: Deutsche Welle

HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY INTRODUCES NEW AUTONOMOUS IONIQ CONCEPT AT AUTOMOBILITY LOS ANGELES

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Hyundai Motor Company Presents Self Driving Vehicle with Hidden LiDAR

Hyundai have announced the introduction of the Autonomous IONIQ concept during its press conference at Automobility LA (Los Angeles Auto Show). With a sleek design resembling the rest of the IONIQ lineup, the vehicle is one of the few self-driving cars in development to have a hidden LiDAR system in its front bumper instead of on the roof, enabling it to look like any other car on the road and not a high school science project.

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The goal of the autonomous IONIQ concept was to keep the self-driving systems as simple as possible. This was accomplished by using the production car’s Smart Cruise Control’s forward-facing radar and Lane Keeping Assist cameras, which are integrated with LiDAR technology. Hyundai is also developing its own autonomous vehicle operating system, with the goal of using a lot less computing power. This will result in a low-cost platform, which can be installed in future Hyundai models the average consumer can afford.

The car’s hidden LiDAR system also allows the Autonomous IONIQ to detect the absolute position of surrounding vehicles and objects. In addition, the Autonomous IONIQ features:

  • Forward Facing Radar which detects the relative location and speed of objects in the vehicle’s forward path to aid in route planning
  • A three camera array which detects pedestrian proximity, lane markings and traffic signals
  • A GPS antenna to determine the precise location of each vehicle
  • High definition mapping data from Hyundai MnSoft which delivers location accuracy, road grade/curvature, lane width and indication data
  • A Blind Spot Detection radar to ensure even simple lane changes are executed safely

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These features build upon the capabilities of the product IONIQ, which offers Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Assist. The vehicle also incorporates all autonomous controls into existing systems to ensure that drivers can have a seamless transition between active and self-driving modes.

Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor earned a license to test its autonomous cars in urban environments. Hyundai Motor is currently testing three autonomous IONIQs and two Autonomous Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles at Hyundai Motor Research and Development Center in Namyang, South Korea.

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To showcase its autonomous vehicles in action, Hyundai Motor will debut two autonomous IONIQs at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2017 where the cars will be found driving up and down the neon-and sunlit boulevards of Las Vegas. The testing in Las Vegas will build upon the Hyundai’s current efforts to bring the most adept and safest self-driving car to market.

In addition to offering media rides, these IONIQs will be prepared to tackle:

  • High levels of pedestrian traffic
  • Stop lights, stop signs and school zones
  • Road construction and roadblocks
  • Speed bumps
  • Dogs without a leash
  • Children at play
  • Shopping centers
  • Intersections without traffic signals

Source: Hyundai

 

When will we see driverless cars on UK roads? Lords to investigate

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The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will continue its inquiry investigating driverless vehicles on Tuesday 8 November. The Committee will hear evidence from European Officials and industry experts.

This session provides an opportunity for the Committee to hear from representatives from three driverless car trials in Greenwich, Bristol and Milton Keynes. The Committee will be able to explore the progress being made by the trials and the issues they have highlighted relating to the deployment and regulation of driverless cars as well as social and behavioural issues.

The Committee will also examine the extent to which the UK will have to align itself with future international regulation for self-driving vehicles in areas such as cyber-security and data handling and will assess what progress has been made in European and global regulation of autonomous vehicles.

At 10:40am the Committee will hear from:

  • Ms Claire Depré, Head of Sustainable & Intelligent Transport Unit, DG Transport and Mobility
  • Dr Hermann Meyer, CEO, ERTICO –EUROPE
  • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders

The Committee are likely to ask:

  • What can European organisations deliver that individual Member States or organisations cannot deliver on their own?
  • What ways is it possible to avoid a situation where European countries have their own individual approach to cybersecurity and privacy requirements for highly autonomous vehicles?
  • To what extent can the UK devise its own regulations and standards?

At 11:40am the Committee will hear from:

  • Professor Nick Reed, Greenwich Automated Transport Environment
  • John McCarthy, Bristol Driverless Cars Project
  • Brian Matthews, Head of Transport Innovation, Milton Keynes Council

The Committee are likely to ask:

  • Are you demonstrating a scientific or engineering process or testing elements of a system to be deployed?
  • Has there been modelling or simulation of deployment on a network of a mixed fleet of non-highly and fully-automated vehicles?
  • Can these new types of vehicle operate safely, efficiently and effectively on current infrastructure or will there have to be significant new infrastructure investment?

The evidence session will take place in Committee room 4A on Tuesday 8 November in the House of Lords at 10:30am.

Source: UK Parliment

UK Autodrive Completes First Collaborative Autonomous Vehicle Trials

Jaguar Land Rover's vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday's demonstration.

Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday’s demonstration.

 

The UK’s first collaborative trials of connected and autonomous vehicle technology were successfully completed on Friday, as UK Autodrive partners Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) jointly demonstrated a number of future vehicle technologies at HORIBA MIRA’s Proving Ground in Nuneaton.

Friday’s demonstration came at the end of a fortnight trials, in which the three vehicle manufacturers were able to successfully demonstrate the programme’s first two connected car features.

The first demonstration showcased cars that can warn their drivers when another connected car up ahead has braked severely, lowering the risk of rear-end collisions when the driver’s view is obscured, for example, by fog or other vehicles.

The second demonstration showed how connected cars can be sent information from traffic lights, allowing them to reduce the likelihood of meeting red lights – potentially improving future traffic flow and lowering emissions in urban areas.

“There has already been a lot of public focus on self-driving vehicles, but connected car technology may be just as revolutionary,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director.

“The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant – from increased road safety to improved traffic flow, more efficient parking and better information for drivers.”

Jaguar Land Rover also used Friday’s event to demonstrate a self-driving Range Rover Sport that was able to overtake slower moving vehicles automatically – and also reject overtake requests if it detects another vehicle in the occupant’s “blind spot”.

A Ford test driver receives a brake light warning triggered by the Jaguar ahead of him.

A Ford test driver receives a brake light warning triggered by the Jaguar ahead of him.

The UK Autodrive demonstration was also welcomed the UK’s Roads Innovation Minister, John Hayes, who said: “This technology has the potential to revolutionise travel by making journeys safer and cutting congestion for motorists. I’m proud that the UK is a world leader when it comes to developing connected and automated vehicles, and we are further establishing ourselves as the place to test and invest in this emerging technology.”

 

Further UK Autodrive trials and demonstrations are scheduled to take place at HORIBA MIRA during the spring of next year, before moving out onto closed-off areas of Milton Keynes and Coventry in late 2017. The project will culminate in a series of open road trials and demonstrations to be held in both cities in 2018.

Jaguar Land Rover's vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday's demonstration.

Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle completes an automated overtake during Friday’s demonstration.

The driver of the TMETC vehicle receives a speed advisory to help reach a green light.

The driver of the TMETC vehicle receives a speed advisory to help reach a green light.

JAGUAR LAND ROVER DRIVES FORWARD CONNECTED AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE TECHNOLOGIES

 

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Jaguar Land Rover showcased its latest Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies as part of the UK Autodrive demonstrations taking place at HORIBA MIRA today.

 

In a UK first Jaguar Land Rover collaborates with other manufacturers to trial new connected technologies that allow cars to talk to each other

  • Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies will help make driving safer and cleaner in the future
  • Showcasing three research technologies, including a car that knows what speed to travel at to ensure traffic lights are always on green

Coventry, UK: Jaguar Land Rover showcased its latest Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies as part of the UK Autodrive demonstrations taking place at HORIBA MIRA today. In a UK first, Jaguar Land Rover is working with Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre to test connected technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other as well as the roadside infrastructure, such as traffic lights, in the future.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies are one of Jaguar Land Rover’s research priorities. It is creating a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles to develop and test a wide range of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies over the next four years. Ultimately, these technologies will enhance the driving experience as well as making driving smarter, safer and even cleaner in the years to come.

We know that there’s a huge potential for these technologies in future vehicles around the world. Until now we have focused on communication between Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, this collaborative approach is a major stepping stone towards all Connected and Autonomous Vehicles co-operating with each other in the future. Our aim is to give drivers exactly the right information at the right time and collaborations with other manufacturers are essential to help us deliver this commitment to our customers.

TONY HARPER
HEAD OF RESEARCH, JAGUAR LAND ROVER,

Jaguar Land Rover is developing both fully and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies to help the driver with the challenging or more tedious parts of driving whilst maintaining an enjoyable driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the autonomous car viable in the widest range of real life, on and off road driving environments and weather conditions.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies

With Advanced Highway Assist the vehicle can overtake vehicles automatically as well as stay in its lane on the motorway without the driver having to touch either the steering wheel or the pedals.

Electronic Emergency Brake Light Assist warns drivers when a vehicle ahead brakes severely or unexpectedly. This is particularly useful when driving in dense fog or if the vehicle in front is out of sight.

Imagine travelling across central London or Paris without needing to stop at traffic lights because they are always on green. This could be possible with Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory. The car connects to traffic lights advising the driver of the best driving speed required to reach the lights when they are on green. This will improve traffic flow, CO₂ emissions as well as the driver’s experience.

UK Autodrive

UK Autodrive is a consortium of leading technology and automotive businesses, local authorities and academic institutions working together on a three year UK trial of self-driving vehicle and connected car technologies. It is helping to establish the UK as a global hub for the research, development and integration of automated and connected vehicles into society. It will also investigate other aspects of automated driving, including safety and cyber-security issues as well as the public’s acceptance for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Source: JLR

 

 

 

TSC Autonomous Vehicle demonstration a success

TSC and Oxford University operated the vehicle in full autonomous mode around a public area

TSC and Oxford University operated the vehicle in full autonomous mode around a public area

The TSC has successfully tested its self-driving vehicles in public for the first time in the UK. The demonstration of a UK developed autonomous driving system marked the conclusion of the LUTZ Pathfinder Project, which has been developing the technology for the past 18 months.

The project team has been running a number of exercises in preparation for the demonstration as part of the LUTZ Pathfinder project, including virtual mapping of Milton Keynes, assessing public acceptance, conducting the necessary safety planning and establishing the regulatory environment with the support of Milton Keynes Council.

The autonomy software running the vehicle, called Selenium, was developed by Oxford University’s Oxford Robotics Institute and integrated by Oxford University spinout company Oxbotica on to an electric vehicle. Selenium uses data from cameras and LIDAR systems to navigate its way around the environment.

The vehicle demonstration took place on pavements around Milton Keynes train station and business district. In the future it is expected that vehicles like those demonstrated in Milton Keynes will be used for local transportation in urban areas.

Neil Fulton, Programme Director at the TSC explained:

“This public demonstration represents a major milestone for autonomous vehicles in the UK and the culmination of an extensive project involving UK companies and experts. Oxford University’s technology will go on to power automated vehicles around the world and the LUTZ Pathfinder project will now feed into a much wider programme of autonomous trials across the UK. Driverless vehicles are coming to Britain and what we have demonstrated today is a huge step on that journey”

Following the trial, the TSC’s Automated Transport Systems team will continue to research the challenges and promote the benefits of increased automation in transport. Fulton commented,

“Through the LUTZ Pathfinder project we have started to create a world leading urban test bed for connected and automated vehicles. We can now capitalise on the unique position of having the environment and the development platform to conduct further research and trials.

To that end we have started work building an automated vehicle test and integration facility, which will enable other UK universities and SMEs to work with the Catapult on new self-driving technology.”

Further quotes and comments

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment and further evidence that Britain is at the forefront of innovation.

“The global market for autonomous vehicles present huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms. And the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles.”

Graeme Smith, CEO at Oxbotica:

“The TSC’s Lutz pathfinder project is a great example of Oxbotica’s autonomy software leading the way for self-driving vehicles here in the U.K.  This is a landmark step to bringing self-driving vehicles to the streets of the UK and the world. Our unique Selenium software gives vehicles the next generation level of intelligence to safely operate in pedestrianised urban environments.”

“Our leading team of UK-based scientists, mathematicians and engineers have worked incredibly hard to develop this ground-breaking technology, which is bringing self-driving vehicles yet another a step closer to deployment across the world.”

Professor Paul Newman, BP Professor of Information Engineering at Oxford University and co-founder of Oxbotica:

‘It’s great to see our research ideas having a life of their own beyond the lab and being used in public, for the public. Our work with the TSC has given us the opportunity to accelerate the development of our system into the public domain and has given us a platform from which we can now take our expertise onto the world stage.’

Source: TSC

Autonomous cars expected to hit 24 million units by 2030, says Berg Insight

(c)iStock.com/chombosan

A new research report from Berg Insight says the first autonomous cars will debut in 2020, and predicts that the total number of new registrations of autonomous cars will grow at a CAGR of 62% from 0.2 million units in 2020 to reach 24 million units in 2030.

As the analyst firm explains, cars are among the costliest as well as one of the most inefficiently used assets today, but when operated around the clock on a service based business model can results in a tremendous potential increase of their utilisation rate. Moreover, autonomous cars will potentially improve the quality of life for the people who are unable to drive, reduce the number of fatalities and accidents in road traffic and increase overall traffic efficiency.

That’s the theory, at any rate. The research notes that the active installed base of autonomous cars is estimated to have reached about 71 million at the end of 2030, including SAE Level 3 and 4 cars.

The report states that the key to the development of self-driving cars lies in the software that will interpret sensor information and manage the driving logic. In order to further develop the autonomous technology, many new actors such as IT firms and other technology-oriented companies have joined incumbent automakers who have already initiated projects to develop self-driving features in their cars.

Ludvig Barrehag, M2M/IoT analyst at Berg Insight, said: “These pathways do not contradict each other as different autonomous systems are suitable in different use cases. We will continue to see development from both sides for still some years before the two approaches converge.”

Source: Connected Car/Berg Insight

An electrically powered, automated and fully interconnected van from Mercedes-Benz Vans revolutionises last-mile delivery services

  • Mercedes-Benz Vision Van - Exterior

    Mercedes-Benz Vision Van – Exterior

    Mercedes-Benz Vision Van – Interior

    Mercedes-Benz Vision Van – Interior

    Van as an integrated concept in a completely digitally connected supply chain on the last mile of the delivery process

  • Fully automated cargo space, integrated delivery drones, unique communication between vehicle and its surroundings
  • Local emission-free and virtually silent delivery
  • Intelligence of a cutting-edge logistics centre integrated in a van
  • Integrated concept opens up new options for same-day and time-definite parcel delivery
  • Spectacular design provides an idea of future generations of vans
  • Efficiency gains in delivery operations of up to 50 percent

 

The Vision Van from Mercedes-Benz Vans is a revolutionary van study for the urban environment. As an integrated system, the vehicle merges a number of innovative technologies for last-mile delivery operations and thus sets the standard of performance requirements and solutions for future generations of vans.

The Vision Van evolved as part of the strategic future initiative adVANce. With adVANce, Mercedes-Benz Vans is evolving from a mere van manufacturer into a supplier of holistic system solutions. The company is underscoring this strategy with the Vision Van as a visible manifestation of its innovative strength. The Vision Van boasts an unprecedented level of connectivity of information and technologies. It is the first van worldwide to serve as an integrated concept for a completely digitally connected process chain, from the goods distribution depot to the consignee.

The Vision Van features a fully automated cargo space, integrated drones for autonomous air deliveries and a state-of-the-art joystick control. Powered by a 75 kW electric drive system with a range of up to 270 km, deliveries with the Vision Van are locally emission-free. The electric drive system additionally guarantees that it will remain possible to operate the Vision Van in inner-city zones where the introduction of bans on vehicles with internal combustion engines is planned. The virtually silent electric drive system facilitates late deliveries in residential areas for the purposes of same-day delivery.

“With the Vision Van we are presenting the intelligent, clean and fully interconnected van of the future”, says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “The Vision Van integrates many concrete concepts for future delivery operations in the urban environment, such as a fully automatic cargo space, autonomously flying delivery drones and innovative communication features.”

Cloud-based control software meets optimum cargo hardware

The Vision Van merges numerous innovative technologies and serves as the central, intelligent element in a fully connected delivery chain. Innovative algorithms control order picking, the loading of packages, the fully automated cargo space management, route planning for the vehicle and the delivery drones. They also calculate ideal delivery routes for the package deliverer. Automatic order picking takes place at the logistics centre, for example, and consignments are loaded into special racking systems. Driverless handling vehicles load the racks by way of an automated one-shot loading process. The intelligent cargo space management system automatically transfers packages for manual delivery to the deliverer at the delivery destination by means of a package dispenser on board the vehicle. At the same time, the system supplies two drones, each with a payload capacity of two kilogrammes, with consignments for autonomous delivery within a radius of 10 km.

The combination of a cloud-based control software and optimum hardware yields substantial time and efficiency benefits and raises the quality and flexibility of delivery services in the urban environment to a new level. The delivery time per package and the vehicle’s curbside time are markedly reduced, for example. The vehicle also opens up new options for same-day and time-definite delivery. Convenience for the end customer is thus enhanced, and failed delivery attempts become an exception. One-shot loading, the automation technology in the cargo space and integration of the delivery drones all contribute to the described increases in efficiency. The technology also virtually rules out any false deliveries.

“With the Vision Van we are integrating the intelligence of a state-of-the-art logistics depot into a van”, Volker Mornhinweg points out. “We estimate that this vehicle would enable an increase in productivity of up to 50 percent in last-mile delivery services.”

Vehicle communicates with the driver and its surroundings

The futuristic design by Mercedes-Benz Vans provides a foretaste of future generations of vans. It fuses the vehicle’s intelligence, efficiency and connectivity in an unprecedented manner. The front design alone is enough to transport the beholder into the distant future. The face is defined by the extremely wide windscreen, which curves around to the sidewalls like a high-tech visor, the Black Panel radiator grille with integrated LED matrix via which the Vision Van communicates with its surroundings and the progressively designed LED headlamps. The sharp contours of these elements contrast with the vehicle’s smooth surfaces, engaging in a fascinating dialogue between passion/emotion and technology/functionality. The vehicle communicates with its surroundings via LED displays on the front and rear. Warnings appear when the delivery drones take off, when the vehicle stops or when the deliverer alights, for example.

Being pared down to a maximum level of functionality the interior design comes in a highly futuristic guise. The designers have done without a steering wheel, pedals and centre console in favour of drive-by-wire control by means of a joystick, thereby creating new design options. This results in a unique interior centring on intelligent communication between driver and vehicle. It has also been possible to move the driver’s seat further forward to enlarge the vehicle’s useful floor space.

The dashboard in the shape of a broadly sweeping arc is covered with a premium textile and extends across the entire front end. The entire surface of the arc is used to provide the driver with all the information he needs for his work. When the Vision Van is in stand-by mode, the arc appears as a continuous blue surface with a black colour gradient. When the vehicle is in operation, the arc lights up and shows a tachometer, route planning information and drone flight data, for example.

The vehicle also communicates with the driver via the cabin floor. By way of a special effect LED indicators shine in the stainless steel floor, signalling to the driver whether pedestrians or cyclists are approaching, for example. At the rear wall of the driver’s cabin are the package dispenser and the driver’s info terminal providing all the relevant information on the delivery process. This terminal serves as a means of communication between the Vision Van’s autonomously functioning system environment and the driver, who is able to concentrate fully on the manual delivery task at hand. It also performs the role of a central control unit to interlink the intelligent vehicle, the automated systems and the information relating to the delivery orders to be carried out.

At the same time, the interior concept also facilitates the driver’s work procedures. The omission of a steering wheel, pedals and centre console provides for freedom of movement in the driver’s cabin and ensures unimpeded entry into and exiting from the vehicle. The electric drive system does away with the need for a drive line, making it possible to provide the driver’s cab with a level floor. The on-board package dispenser spares the driver the time-consuming and strength-sapping task of searching for and resorting consignments in the cargo space. The driver is able to take receipt of packages at the dispenser in an ergonomically ideal position.

Please click here to see a video of the van in action> 

Source: Daimler