With the virtual vision vehicle “MINI Vision Urbanaut”, the MINI brand presented a completely new form of mobility in the form of an innovative spatial vision in November 2020. The BMW Group is now making both the spatial concept and the sustainable materials tangible with a physical model of the vehicle. It will celebrate its world premiere on July 1, 2021 at the DLD Summer in Munich "At MINI, we see it as our responsibility to preserve and develop the unique characteristics of our brand for the near and distant future. With a view to the future, with the MINI Vision Urbanaut we have developed an idea of how we can incorporate the MINI features into the future of mobility, as in this case in the focus on 'Clever Use of Space', and how we can interpret them in a typical MINI way.
MINI Vision Urbanaut
It transfers the personal space to the car and creates different possibilities for the user from the urban oasis to the experience of freedom in the moment "Wanderlust". The MINI Vision Urbanaut is our idea of how MINI's 'Clever Use of Space' could be an answer to the needs of future cities and lifestyles“, Explains Bernd Körber, head of the MINI brand.
Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design adds: "At MINI Design, we believe that the best way to understand the overall concept of the MINI Vision Urbanaut is to experience it. The feeling of space or the innovative materials want to be discovered. That is why it was very important to us right from the start to also realize the MINI Vision Urbanaut as a physical model. And now the time has finally come. The model, which makes all facets of the MINI Vision Urbanaut tangible, was completely planned and built in our MINI design studio in Munich."
Mobility thought beyond driving - the MINI Moments.
In the future, MINI sees itself primarily as a facilitator and companion for unforgettable experiences - the so-called MINI moments. Born out of the thought “What do I want to experience with my vehicle?” They form the conceptual basis of the MINI Vision Urbanaut, even beyond the driving situation. The three MINI moments “Chill”, “Wanderlust” and “Vibe” illustrate what that can mean in concrete terms. Depending on the MINI moment, the exterior and interior change in order to offer the experience an optimal stage and spatial environment. Furthermore, the fragrance, sound and ambient lighting reinforce the prevailing mood of the MINI moment. The transformation of the vehicle in each moment can now be impressively experienced in reality thanks to the physical model of the MINI Vision Urbanaut.
The moment, “chill”, makes it possible to pause and linger in the here and now. The vehicle becomes a place of retreat, is used for relaxation or for concentrated work. While the rear bench (Cozy Corner) enables various sitting and lying positions, the backlit loop above creates a dimmable display inspired by a green canopy of leaves. In the central area, the round instrument folds down and becomes a table lamp, so that no display and no switch are reminiscent of the automotive environment.
“Wanderlust” is the only MINI moment when the MINI Vision Urbanaut is driven or drives automatically. Here the interior becomes the ideal place for driving or being driven and lets the occupants rediscover the romance of traveling. If you want to steer yourself, just tap the MINI logo on the steering wheel and pedals. The user interface on the central round instrument changes its appearance and, in addition to an animation of the route, also provides additional travel information such as B. Sights or arrival times visible to all passengers.
The moment, “Vibe”, focuses on the time spent with other people in all its facets. The open door on the side and the folded-up windshield form an inviting gesture that blurs the boundaries between inside and outside. The central round instrument becomes the media control center, and an animation of the music played on surfaces in the front, rear, rims and the loop, based on an equalizer, creates a pleasant club atmosphere. If you want it, the vehicle can even become a “boombox”. In addition, with “my moment”, a fourth, freely configurable moment offers additional scope for designing the vehicle according to your wishes and needs.
Many facets of sustainability.
In addition to diverse uses, the MINI Vision Urbanaut also focuses on sustainability. The vehicle makes them directly understandable and tangible in several facets. The starting point of the concept is typical MINI “Clever Use of Space”: It offers maximum space in the smallest possible traffic area. Thanks to its overall height, the MINI Vision Urbanaut creates a versatile space with a completely new type of freedom of movement over a total length of just 4,46 meters. The electric drive ensures locally emission-free mobility. Another aspect is the possibility of using the vehicle beyond mobility. The vehicle makes urban space available even when it is stationary, thereby enormously increasing the possible dwell time and usage time.
The MINI Vision Urbanaut also relies on the responsible use of resources. Accordingly, from the beginning of the concept phase, the focus was on the consistent reduction of components and the avoidance of unnecessary use of materials. This was realized, for example, through clever double functions in the dashboard, which becomes a daybed, as well as in the first round OLED center display above the table, which is being transformed into a stylish lamp at the moment “Chill”. Likewise, the longest possible use through exchangeability, for example through exchangeable covers, is in the foreground. The interior is also chrome-free and leather-free, which will already be implemented in the next generation of MINI models.
High quality and sustainable material innovations.
In the interior, the MINI Vision Urbanaut uses a high proportion of recyclates and almost exclusively renewable and recyclable materials. The predominant material in the interior are textiles made from recycled materials such as wool, polyester or Tencel. They combine cosiness and high quality with softness and comfort. The designers also paid more attention to solutions in which only one material is used - so-called monomaterials. These can easily be recycled later and become new products. The renewable and recyclable material cork on the steering wheel and on parts of the floor sets a special accent thanks to its natural feel and naturally ensures a pleasant room climate. Overall, the material concept of the MINI Vision Urbanaut shows the extremely high-quality look and feel that a sustainably designed interior can have.
An experience for all the senses.
For the perfect experience, the MINI Vision Urbanaut addresses all sensual dimensions. An essential part of the interior design is therefore also a conscious smell and sound staging. Annabell Coffinet, fragrance designer at the BMW Group, explains: "The holistic approach of addressing all the senses creates a truly unique, unforgettable experience. An individual scent signature is stored exactly in the head and can later recall the positive atmosphere and the experience - with this we create another, very personal connection to particularly memorable moments.
At the same time, we wanted to associate the MINI brand identity with a fragrance signature for the first time. Like a breath, intangible, refreshing and unexpected, the brand's message is emotionally represented, as it were as an international signature with a recognition effect. It will be discreet and can be experienced as a welcome scenario.“In order to harmoniously perfect the sensual experience, Renzo Vitale, Creative Director Sound, translated the different textures of the fragrance into sound for the welcome scenario. In addition to the welcome sound, he also composed the music for the moments "Chill", "Vibe" and "Wanderlust". At the moment, the vehicle envelops the user in a subtle soundscape of a forest with rustling leaves and flowing water that fill the interior space in harmony with the dimmable canopy of light.
Acoustic sounds complete the relaxation experience. The moments “Wanderlust” and “Vibe” are accompanied by a soundscape made up of specially composed music that can be played both inside and outside.
Analogue Love, Digital Connection
Another aspect of MINI Moments was to intensify or enrich the analog experience through digital integration. The “Analogue Love, Digital Connection” approach is evident throughout the vehicle. For example, an additional digital level is built into some analog surfaces. Whether the table in the interior, which triggers the MINI moments when the MINI token is inserted, the lamp with OLED display or the LED matrices in the interior under textile or in the front and rear - the analog and digital worlds merge in all of these elements to a new, immersive experience. And that all of this can now also be experienced in a real vehicle model is the achievement of the BMW Group's model construction team.
Concentrated model building expertise of the BMW Group.
As an innovative room concept, the MINI Vision Urbanaut was literally designed from the inside out. Even before the exterior was developed, the designers conceived the spacious interior experience with the help of floor plans, furniture and a model made of wooden frames as a size reference. In the course of the project, a digital model was created in augmented reality and systematically optimized. The physical model of the MINI Vision Urbanaut was then completely created in the MINI design studio in Munich. This is where the BMW Group pools all of its expertise to turn virtual visions into physical reality.
Together with the designers, saddlers, model builders, mechatronics engineers, programmers and painters work here to ensure that a vision takes on a tangible shape that is almost prototype quality. Because the MINI Vision Urbanaut is not a static model, but rather drivable and steerable. Each component is specifically designed, precisely manufactured using the most modern tools and installed by hand. The high level of craftsmanship in the MINI Vision Urbanaut is also evident in the fact that the interior design is reminiscent of a modern living space, and the model construction ranges from classic vehicle construction to furniture construction to programming and smart high-tech integration.
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MINI Vision Urbanaut. The virtual vision becomes tangible reality.
Photo credit: Mini (BMW Group)
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