30 Oct
Could the adaptability of tomorrow's fleet vehicles see drivers filling up less?

Could the next generation fleet vehicle be a transformer?

Fleet managers will likely need cars, vans or trucks that are relatively adaptable. After all, regardless of the sector, no two jobs will be absolutely the same, and the business may need to constantly change its road going operation to meet customer needs.

So, while that may be challenging in today's environment, what if the fleet vehicle of tomorrow will be able to transform itself and adapt to any role? Well, that may sound like a pretty far-fetched concept, but Mercedes-Benz is trying to develop just such technology.

The IAA has the ability to change shape when it gets past a certain speed.

Streamlining for the future

The German marque's Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile (IAA) concept vehicle has the ability to change shape when it gets past a certain speed.

Those in the know may have heard about existing innovations that already do this, namely automatic closing features on grilles and openings. However, the IAA changes shape completely once it's on the move. This has myriad benefits on economy. As the air hitting the vehicle is streamlined around it, the power needed to push the vehicle forward is lessened.

Consequently, fuel card purchases in the not too distant future could be even more valuable. 

Style and function

The idea of a transforming car may bring ungainly designs to mind, but Mercedes-Benz has attempted to make its offering as aesthetically pleasing as possible, while still ensuring that it performs optimally and remains versatile.

"The "Concept IAA" applies intelligent innovations to resolve the conflicting aims of functionality and aesthetics and shows that we still have plenty of ideas on how to achieve further improvements in efficiency," says Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

While the idea is still very much in the prototype stage at this point, and it could be some years before the technology really hits the mainstream, the prospect of a real-life transformer should be an exciting one.

As touched on, the fast-paced business world is growing more reliant on having adaptable vehicles that can meet its needs. Fortunately, thanks to work being done by Mercedes-Benz in the here and now, there's a real prospect that fleet managers could have access to truly versatile cars, vans and trucks in the near future.