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MINI unveils electric, autonomous Urbanaut concept

The MINI brand presented the MINI Vision Urbanaut—a digital concept vehicle intended to provide an example of MINI’s possible future directions.

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. 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. 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 center stage—in every way.

—Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design


Having been conceived from the outset as an electrically powered vehicle with automated driving functions, the MINI Vision Urbanaut has afforded the designers a greater level of freedom when creating both the exterior and interior.

In 1959, the very first Mini ushered in a small-scale revolution in vehicle construction with its transversely mounted engine. With the MINI Vision Urbanaut we have been able to rethink and increase the usable surface area inside the car even further in relation to its footprint.

—Oliver Heilmer

Intuitive, discreet user interface solutions allow conventional controls such as switches or buttons to be omitted. This creates a minimalist, cosy spatial experience while maintaining full connectivity. The principle of making things as simple as possible to use (“natural interaction”) is highlighted by the “analog”, tactile, haptic experience of initiating a feature.

The MINI Token is the centerpiece of the MINI Vision Urbanaut’s experience worlds. It is roughly the same size as a worry stone and activates the three preconfigured MINI moments—Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe—when placed in purpose-designed slots in the table at the center of the car. Other MINI moments are conceivable, such as “My MINI moment”. Here, the MINI Token can be programmed to provide another kind of personalized experience, in which the user can configure their own preferred scenario of fragrance, ambient lighting, music, etc. and call it up directly at a later time.


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