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Urbanetic hits the Strip

March 14, 2019
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Daimler let its incredible Urbanetic, which we first saw at the 2018 IAA in Hannover, lose on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip during the Consumer Electronics Show. Needless to say, it attracted a massive amount of attention.

That was primarily because the vehicle looks so funky. However, the technology inside this vehicle study is even more incredible.

Naturally, it is autonomous (dah, that’s obvious nowadays). It also runs on a battery-electric drive (another dah to that, because it’s also hardly breaking news). It is, however, also a fully connected vehicle and part of an ecosystem in which logistics providers, local transport companies and private customers digitally transmit their mobility requirements in urban areas.

The 5,14-metre-long vehicle can be used to transport up to 12 people or goods. While doing its transport thing, the Urbanetic interacts with people in and around it. There is a 360Oᵒ halo display on the ceiling, which shows passengers information, such as stops or interesting facts about the respective city and its surroundings.

Using augmented reality projections, passengers can have suggestions for routes to other destinations in the city displayed directly on their own mobile device.

Those people outside the Urbanetic are not ignored. For instance, if a pedestrian crosses in front of the vehicle, special so-called “animations” are displayed on the front. The same happens on the side of a vehicle. As the pedestrian walks next to the Urbanetic, his or her contours are shadowed onto the vehicle. Trust me, it looks flipping cool! This is made possible by a whopping 40 m of LED strips and hundreds of individual LEDs that have been installed on the vehicle.

Because the vehicle is so clever, Mercedes-Benz Vans says that it will be able to transport more people and goods with fewer vehicles on a virtually unchanged road infrastructure. Now that sounds like a plan!

My friends call me a glomad (a global nomad lest you don’t get it). That’s a particularly apt word, because I am always trawling all corners of the globe, looking for stories. As a result, I have slept in some seriously strange places – on a bed of ice in the Arctic circle, on the floor in a traditional Japanese hotel, on the sand dunes in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan … and even on the floor of a Thai cargo ship. Mostly however I tend to sleep on aircraft (if I had a dog, he would bark at me when I eventually come home). I am passionate about trucks, cars, travel, food, wine, people and hugs – so I write about all these things. Except the hugs.

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