With the presentation of the MINI Vision Urbanaut virtual vision vehicle in November 2020, the MINI brand revealed an all-new interpretation of mobility through an innovative vision of space. And now the BMW Group is set to unveil a physical model of the vehicle which will allow audiences to engage more extensively with the spatial concept and sustainable materials at work. The model will be given its world premiere on 1 July 2021 at the DLD Summer conference in Munich.
“At MINI we see it as our responsibility to preserve and develop the unique characteristics of our brand over the upcoming years and those further ahead,” explains Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “With our eyes fixed on the future, we have developed an idea, with the MINI Vision Urbanaut, of how we can take the MINI attributes – as here, with the focus on the ‘Clever Use of Space’ – into the future of mobility and interpret them in a typically MINI way. It brings the user’s personal space into the car and opens up various possibilities for them, from creating an urban oasis to experiencing freedom in the ‘Wanderlust’ moment. The MINI Vision Urbanaut represents our image of how MINI’s ‘Clever Use of Space’ could provide an answer to the needs of future cities and lifestyles.”
Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design adds: “At MINI Design we believe that the best way to understand the overall concept behind the MINI Vision Urbanaut is to experience it. 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.”
Extending the idea of mobility beyond driving – the MINI moments
MINI sees its future self primarily as an enabler of and companion for unforgettable times, what we’re calling “MINI moments”. Inspired by the question “What kind of experiences do I want to have with my vehicle?”, they provide the conceptual platform for the MINI Vision Urbanaut – for times when you’re travelling and others when you’re not. What this means more specifically is encapsulated up by the MINI moments “Chill”, “Wanderlust” and “Vibe”. The exterior and interior of the vehicle change to reflect the MINI moment at hand and so give the on-board experience the best possible stage and spatial environment. Fragrance, sound and ambient lighting continue to enrich the baseline mood initiated by the chosen MINI moment. The transformation of the vehicle through the different moments can now also be experienced in stunning reality thanks to the creation of a physical model of the MINI Vision Urbanaut.
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. While the rear seat bench (Cosy Corner) invites various seating and lying positions, the backlit Loop above it takes on an appearance inspired by a green forest canopy and can also be dimmed. In the central area, the circular instrument folds down to become a table lamp, eliminating displays or switches that might remind the customer of their automotive surroundings.
Wanderlust is the only MINI moment where the MINI Vision Urbanaut is being driven or driving with automated driving functions. In this moment, the interior becomes the ideal place for driving the car, or being driven by it, and enables those on board to rediscover the romance of travel. When the customer wants to drive themselves, a tap of a finger on the MINI logo brings out the steering wheel and pedals. And the user interface on the central circular instrument also adapts its visuals; alongside an animation of the route, additional journey information – such as visitor attractions and arrival time – is displayed here for those on board.
The Vibe moment puts time with other people at centre stage – in every way. Opening the side door and folding up the windscreen creates a welcoming scene that blurs the boundaries between the outside and inside. The central circular instrument becomes a media control centre. An animation of graphic equalizers moving with the music is projected onto surfaces of the front, rear, wheels and Loop above the rear seat bench, creating a pleasant club atmosphere. If those on board so desire, the car could even begin to resemble a boombox. And then there is the fourth option, the customisable “my moment”, which provides users with further scope for tailoring the design of the vehicle to their needs and desires.