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The MINI Vision Urbanaut: A Concept Becoming Reality

Dario Tameu

Dario Tameu, Writer
@uxconnections

The MINI Vision Urbanaut, a concept that reimagines the future of transportation by turning the traditional car into a four-wheeled living room. 

After being unveiled as a digital rendering last year, the concept car has finally made its fully built debut this July, at Munich’s Design-Life-Design Summer conference.

The Urbanaut concept is a small MPV that showcases a lounge-like interior meant for a future where autonomous vehicles are an everyday sight, allowing for new approaches to vehicle interiors.

The car’s interior is designed to transform into a living room, thanks to the steering wheel that folds up and disappears into the dash. The inside is airy, with plenty of glass all around and a windshield that opens in like a balcony. The middle section of the concept features a fold-out table, while the rear section of the Urbanaut houses a bed.

“With our eyes on the future, through the MINI Vision Urbanaut, we have developed an idea of how it is possible to bring in the characteristics of MINI, as in this case, with the focus on the “Clever Use of Space”, into the future of mobility and interpret them in a typically MINI way.”

These words from Bernd Korber, head of MINI, make us understand how certain elements of this concept will be implemented in future MINI models. Therefore, the MINI Vision Urbanaut could also be seen as a technological showcase of the company.

The concept car, as mentioned at the beginning, is electric and to design it, the designers started from the inside. The vehicle, in fact, can be used for purposes that go beyond simple mobility.

Even when stationary, the Vision Urbanaut is able to offer a space that can be used by people for multiple purposes, both for relaxation and for work and entertainment.

Furthermore, MINI has developed this concept car paying close attention to constantly reducing the number of components and avoiding the use of unnecessary materials.

The passenger compartment also has a high percentage of recycled materials and the materials used are almost exclusively renewable and recyclable.

“At Mini Design we believe that the best way to understand the overall concept behind the Mini Vision Urbanaut is to experience it,” says Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI Design department. “The feeling of space and the innovative materials are just asking to be explored. That is why it was very important for us from the outset to also make a physical model of the Mini Vision Urbanaut. And now that moment has come. We have planned and built every aspect of the model—which allows people to experience all of the facets of the Mini Vision Urbanaut—at our Mini Design Studio in Munich.”

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