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Image credit: BMW

Mini's Vision Urbanaut concept looks like a living room on wheels

The self-driving vehicle could help you work or relax on the road.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
November 17, 2020
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Mini Vision Urbanaut
BMW

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Mini had an eye-catching self-driving concept to show off at BMW's NextGen event. If the Mini Vision Urbanout ever became a reality, it'd have more interior space than any other Mini, and be perhaps the coziest way to get around town.

The Mini Vision Urbanout has three core "moments" or modes -- Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe -- and the vehicle's interior and exterior will move around to reflect those. "The Chill moment invites you to catch a breath and pause in the here and now. The car becomes a kind of retreat, a haven where you can relax – or work with full concentration – during a journey," Oliver Heimer, Mini's head of design, said in a statement. "Wanderlust is the only Mini moment where the Mini Vision Urbanaut is being driven or driving with automated driving functions. The moment Vibe puts time with other people at centre stage – in every way.”

You'd switch between the three modes by placing the key fob in the relevant slot. Mini suggests that you may be able to set up your own moment with personalized music, ambient lighting, fragrance and so on.

When the vehicle is stationary, you'd be able to turn it into a living room of sorts. The dashboard can transform into a daybed, and you can open the windshield upwards to create a balcony space. The rear of the Vision Urbanout would seemingly have a quieter area with a so-called "cozy corner" that sounds like a solid reading nook. There's even a built-in table with a plant in the open central area.

Along with comfort, Mini has sustainability in mind. It says the Vision Urbanout would use recycled materials with no leather or chrome, and the main material in the interior would be knitted textile. Meanwhile, the Vision Urbanout has a single side door and rotating, foldable seats.

Living room-style self-driving concepts have been around for years, though Mini is perhaps one of the biggest players yet to lay out its vision for that vehicle format. There's no physical model of the Mini Vision Urbanout, so it's not certain how well it would work in practice. Still, traveling while watching a movie or playing a game and hanging out in a relaxing environment when you get to your destination sounds pretty swell.

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