Mini Unveils Autonomous Electric Concept Car
A week after BMW unveiled its first electric SUV, it’s now Mini’s turn to get in on the action. The brand has unveiled a concept version of its first ever autonomous electric vehicle, the Mini Vision Urbanaut, and it’s quite the spectacle.
The first thing you notice about the Urbanaut is that, well, it looks absolutely nothing like a Mini. It’s really more of a van, and seems more suited to being parked up than actually on the road.
The nature-inspired Urbanaut is rendered here in a sort of metallic forest green colour, and features turquoise light up wheels as well as enclosed lights that can only be seen when switched on.
Behind the Urbanaut’s single sliding door lies what looks like a futuristic travel pod, complete with a rear sofa labelled the ‘cosy corner’, a swivelling chair, and a dashboard that folds down to create a ‘daybed’ at the front of the car. There’s also a glass roof, an LED canopy, and a large windscreen that can open up to create a small balcony.
Mini says that passengers can transform the Urbanaut into three different modes, or ‘moments’: chill, vibe and wanderlust. The first two of these are for when the car is stationary, while ‘wanderlust’ is closer to a regular driving set up, complete with a navigation dashboard and retractable steering wheel that can be hidden away when driving in autonomous mode.
Drivers can select their preferred ‘moment’ by inserting a token into the dashboard, and each setting comes with its own mood lighting, fragrance, and cabin displays. That being said, you do still have to adjust the furniture manually.
Explaining the thinking behind this new concept, Oliver Heilmer, Mini’s head of design, said in a statement:
MINI sees its future self primarily as an enabler of and companion for unforgettable times – what we might call ‘MINI moments’. The MINI Vision Urbanaut uses three curated MINI moments – chill, wanderlust and vibe – to present a wide range of possible usage scenarios.
If this all sounds a bit much, don’t worry, Mini says the Urbanaut is just a ‘digital vision’, meaning at the moment it’s not much more than a computer render.
But once real-life exhibitions return next year (fingers crossed) don’t be surprised if you see the real thing making an appearance before too long.
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