Last November, Mini introduced the Vision Urbanaut concept. It wasn’t a real product, existing only in pixel form, but the British brand has now gone a step further, turning the funky futuristic minivan into a tangible product. The real-life version looks exactly like the concept with its short overhangs, bulbously smooth body, and cutesy styling. And it’s even drivable.
The concept is Mini’s vision of what mobility could look like in the future, one where autonomous driving is a mainstream, though not an exclusive, vehicle feature. The concept shows how the car’s interior could radically change as we begin using vehicles in new and different ways. One area Mini expects the car to expand is personalization. It included three customization modes called “Mini Moments” in the concept that provide different interior configurations that change the fragrance, music, ambient lighting, and other features.
Gallery: Mini Vision Urbanaut
Mini takes the idea of customization beyond just lights and music by allowing the interior to transform based on one’s need. For example, a travel mode has the cabin set up with seating for four and two rotatable front seats. The rear of the cabin features a deep, wide bench seat that would look more at home in a study than in a minivan. Another feature is the transforming dash that lowers to become an additional seating area that can take advantage of the pop-open windshield. The steering wheel tucks under the dash while the pedals slip out of the way into slots on the floor.
Mini believes the Vision Concept would be used for shared mobility, which could be possible with next-gen autonomous driving systems, though that future is far down the road. Technology will continue to transform our cars and how we use them. The Mini Vision Urbanaut may seem far-fetched, but an autonomous all-electric people mover could really change how we think about getting around.