The Mini Vision Urbanaut
Mini has unveiled the Vision Urbanaut – a concept that the brand has developed to highlight its thinking around a vehicle’s interior space.
Created as an all-electricvehicle with automated driving functions, the Vision Urbanaut is designed to offer what Mini calls ‘moments’ – times in which the vehicle changes configurations of elements such as seating and lighting for different scenarios.
There are three such ‘moments’ or modes. ‘Chill’ is designed for relaxation, ‘Vibe’ for time spent with others, and ‘Wanderlust’ for when someone is driving or when the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode. These pre-configured ‘moments’ – that include different settings for sound, ambient lighting and even fragrance – can be selected via something called the Mini Token, which can be placed in purpose-designed slots in the table at the centre of the car.
The different interior set-ups are achievable thanks to a flexible four-seat layout. The two front seats are designed to rotate and when the car is stationary, the dashboard lowers and the driver’s area becomes a seating corner. The windscreen can also be opened upwards when stationary.
Features can be comtrolled via a direct touch option in the ‘loop’ that stretches over the rear seat bench and a circular display in the middle of the car that displays relevant information.
Visually, the Vision Urbanuat is striking. Take the headlights and radiator grille, for example. Positioned under a milled aluminium structure with slotted openings, the headlights are only visible when switched on. And that enclosed grille serves as an intelligence panel for automated driving rather than for cooling purposes (there’s no combustion engine to cool, of course).
The unusual wheels, Mini says, represent another way in which the car communicates with its surroundings. Illuminated from the inside, their appearance changes according to the selected Mini ‘moment’.
The concept can also make available services designed to make using the car an ‘enriching and seamless experience’. The car can be opened using smart devices and be accessed by anyone within a defined circle of family and friends. Playlists, audio books or podcasts can be explored while travelling, and a journey planner displays tips and points of interest tailored to the individual, as well as recommendations from the Mini Community.
The Vision Urbanaut represents another step in the journey towards mobility becoming more than just traveling from A to B. What may eventuate from these imaginative concepts into our road-going reality is yet to be seen, but it’s going to be an interesting ride.
1 January 2021