It all started with a trip through southern Sweden in spring 2016 - 4,000 km in a Mercedes-Benz W123. The boot always being full of luggage and the daily setting up and taking down of the tents, often in the rain, all got to be too much for Nico and his best friend. After the trip, the Berliner knew he needed a motorhome! "A new bus was out of the question for me. "I wanted as little electronics as necessary and as much robust technology as possible." Nico found what he was looking for at a dealership in East Berlin - a 407 D from the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle plant in Düsseldorf, AKA a "DüDo.” Nico named the old van from the eighties "Wolfgang".
Before his eventful "retirement" with Nico, the 407 D was used as a telephone vehicle and catastrophe response vehicle in northern Germany. "With 15,500 km on the clock, you couldn't tell it was 30 years old," says Nico. "The interior seemed as if it had just rolled off the conveyor belt. Since the dealer had bought it directly from the authorities, it was in impeccable condition and not yet rebuilt, which was all what mattered to me!"
Wolfgang didn't stay "nude" inside for long, however, Nico Groschke converted the "DüDo" on his own to his very personal camping dream. First it was completely stripped, insulated from the inside with Armaflex and covered with wood. Nico then laid out the 407 D with film-faced plywood as flooring and provided Wolfgang with pieces of furniture, which he fastened on load securing rails. Thus, the former telephone vehicle Wolfgang became a unique motorhome.
I can rely on my van. Every mechanic appreciates the simplicity of the old Mercedes-Benz engines.
Thanks to Wolfgang, Nico no longer has to pitch tents on his travels, as he did with his packed W123. However the 407 D does get overtaken by a truck on the motorway every now and again - it is after all an old-timer, the roughly 30-year-old vehicle only has 72 hp. But that doesn't bother Nico at all: "I don't care, I'm over the moon!" It is this attitude to a life of liberty that constitutes "Van life" for him, emphasizes the Berliner. The freedom to go wherever you want and always know: "I can rely on my van. Every mechanic appreciates the simplicity of the old Mercedes-Benz engines," says Nico Groschke. Only oil and water have to be given to him, then his Wolfgang can also exceed the million-kilometer mark by far.
Away from package tours, true to the motto "The world is my home" the 407 D lets Nico Groschke indulge in memories of past journeys - for example to Lake Balaton in Hungary, where he often visited with his parents in his childhood. "Many who had similar childhood experiences revive them with a modern van or a classic car," says Nico enthusiastically. His first trip with the 407 D and his best friend had it all: From Germany by ferry to Sweden, along the west coast to the North Cape. "I also want to explore southern countries, but I'm more of a fan of colder temperatures," says Nico. Ice and snow are his thing. The two were probably not lacking in snow: On the way back from the North Cape they went back home via Finland, along the east coast of Sweden and finally through Denmark. "To start the season in Germany earlier and take advantage of it for longer" - that is what Nico is all about with his very personal Van life. Why? "Because every ride with Wolfgang is simply an experience!"
Photos: Nico Groschke
Instead of driving fast on the highway, the reality is one car follows slowly behind the next. But how about no more traffic jams! How nice it would be if we could put an end to this meaningless waiting. For example, by simply flying over the traffic jam? You heard right! This adventurous idea could soon become reality. The mega-metropolis Dubai is showing the way forward, the authorities of the Arab Emirate is planning to introduce the "Hoverbike" floating aircraft to its police forces, in the near future. This looks like a conventional motorcycle - but instead of tires, the Hoverbike has propellers. Several companies are currently working in partnership on the implementation of this futuristic device, whose structural inspiration, it can be assumed, stems from science fiction films such as "Star Wars".
Various companies - including Malloy Aeronautics, Aerofex and Hoversurf - are working at full speed to implement the concept, sometimes using different versions. Although the principle is basically the same, the models differ in the number of rotors, range and payload. The "Scorpion-3 Hoverbike" from the company Hoversurf is to be the prelude for the police in Dubai. It should soon enable the emergency services to fly over traffic jams and other obstacles and thus arrive faster at the scene of an emergency. The S-3 carries up to 300 kilograms and reaches a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour with a range of 21 kilometers. At a height of five meters, it will allow the police officers to glide over the city for 20 minutes, whereby the SD LiPo batteries used - with only three hours of charging time - can be easily replaced. This means that the aircraft can remain operational for longer periods of time.
Manufacturers such as the British company Malloy Aeronautics not only facilitate passenger transport, but they are also working on a system that can transport and autonomously deploy supplies and equipment - ideal for use in crisis and emergency situations. The possibilities of Hoverbikes are almost unlimited! The devices can be operated using a joystick both manned and unmanned. Another advantage: In many countries, a pilot's license and registration is not required for aircraft weighing up to 115 kilograms. The S-3, for example, weighs 104 kilograms including batteries. Thanks to fewer moving parts, the aircraft's operating costs are also significantly lower than those of conventional aircraft and helicopters. But it remains to be seen whether it could be affordable for every household to invest in a Hoverbike instead of a car in the future.
Photos: Hoversurf Presse, Malloy Aeronautics Presse
No matter if you are a beginner or an advanced photographer: Photography is an artistic craft that needs to be learned. But for exciting effects, exciting gimmicks of sharpness and blur as well as different color variations you don't necessarily need a computer and the corresponding image processing software, with a few tricks you can achieve them yourself while taking the picture. If you want to try something new and at the same time deepen your photography knowledge without spending a lot of money, you will definitely enjoy the following hacks: Simple, inexpensive and fast.
The term "Bokeh" comes from Japanese and is a term used in photography. It stands for the blur area of an image and its quality: No matter whether triangle, heart or rectangle with the Bokeh hack you can create fascinating plays of light in your favourite form. What you need: A dark box, a ruler, tape and a cutter (but you can also use scissors). If you have these utensils ready, you can get started. First, cut a circle out of the box that should be about the size of your camera lens. Now mark the desired form in the middle and detach it cleanly. All you have to do now is attach your finished work to the lens with adhesive tape, i.e. in front of the lens - done! Before you start taking pictures, you should set your camera to a shutter speed to 1/200 with an aperture of f1.8 at ISO 320.
Photographing against the light is a challenge. But it is worth the effort because with special methods great gimmicks between light, shadow - and the radiation effect can develop. Anyone who has ever tried a portrait against the light should not be unfamiliar with the flattering rays of the sun with their gentle, softening effect. To improve this you can do this effect with a simple trick: The transparent bag hack. The best results are achieved by holding a transparent film or small bag in front of your lens with the aperture as open as possible - and you will get beautiful backlight photographs with little or no effort.
Vaseline not only cares for your skin, but also provides great results in combination with a camera. The cream, consisting of solid and liquid hydrocarbons, gives your snapshots a natural vignette that can be used variably. For the Vaseline hack you will need: Tape, Vaseline (or a similarly greasy cream) and a suitable filter, for example an inexpensive UV filter. Then carefully brush it on the areas you want to make blurred in your image and attach it to the camera lens. Tip: It is best to clean the filter afterwards under warm and running water with a little liquid soap.
A journey back in time: The sepia effect is often seen in images that were originally black and white, but became brownish to cream-colored due to prolonged storage and exposure to UV light. Today, however, in addition to black and white photography, this representation is one of the best methods to enhance new motifs into old ones. To achieve this retro effect with your snapshot without any additional image processing, all you need is skin-colored tights or stockings. Then pull it over the camera lens - and you're ready to go! In order to achieve the best possible result, take care to photograph with maximum aperture.
Photography with flash often creates hard edges and often also causes overexposure. This changes with a very simple method: The use of a plastic bag. By putting a transparent bag over the flash, soft structures are created - with optimal illumination. With the plastic bag hack, it is in no way inferior to a professional photographer - and also saves a lot of money on expensive equipment.
Against the backdrop of advancing globalization, a wonderful trend toward traditionally manufactured products with a local connection is developing. The return to classic crafts and trades along with the reaction to regional needs gives rise to authentic products with convincing quality and concepts. This vision is also pursued by Our/Berlin, which is why the small distillery in Kreuzberg distills vodka that perfectly reflects the charm of the city.
When you enter the low brick building, you encounter a combination of cool precision and amicable warmth. The linear bar area is dominated by hard contrasts given a personal note by the warm details such as raw wood or classical carpets. The bar opens directly into the small distillery’s production area followed by the storage room where the striking bottles and other things are stacked. From the moment you step onto the white tiles you feel the familial charm of Our/Berlin. It combines passion with a love of detail and classical craftsmanship to create a high quality product that both the makers and their customers love to identify with.
Every bottle of Our/Berlin contains much of what characterizes the capital city. That means far more than Berlin’s water that is used to make the high quality vodka. Because less is often more, the small bottles are filled with 0.35 liters of the finest vodka distilled in Berlin Kreuzberg. This is precisely the right quantity to share with friends without overdoing things. The lovingly designed packaging even received a Silver Lion in Cannes.
The small distillery in the Arena Berlin is backed by a major brand which truly understands vodka – Absolut Vodka. However, the micro-distillery from Berlin has all of the freedom it needs to position itself as an independent brand with its own unique story. Absolut only provides the financial framework and the production expertise. All other aspects such as marketing and sales are left up to the makers of Our/Berlin, leaving them free to go their own innovative ways and create the proper image that they are aiming for.
Pauline Hoch and Jon D. Sanders are the minds behind the Paul Sanders agency and the driving force behind Our/Berlin. The two not only possess an impressive network of contacts but also precisely the right feeling for how to credibly position Our/Berlin as a brand. This includes constantly going unusual ways such as offering the bar area as a concert location during the Berlin Music Week in order to establish direct contact with the customers.
Marcus lives for the restaurant business and contributes the necessary background knowledge and his understanding of this world to successfully establish the young brand. This also includes him delivering every order in Berlin in person. The coolest locations in the city are already enthusiastic customers of Our/Berlin. Even the renowned KaDeWe has seized the opportunity to stock the local premium vodka.
Kat is responsible for the production of every individual bottle of Our/Berlin. She is not only responsible for producing the vodka but also handles every single bottle multiple times: the filling, closing and labeling at the small distillery are done with only a few machines and a lot by hand. She alone has the say in her orderly workshop.
With Our/Berlin, Pernod Ricard is taking a daring new path and delivers impressive proof that even an international corporation can care for small brands. It is only a question of time until distilleries similar to Our/Berlin are set up in other cities around the world. The makers will all go their own ways and succeed with their projects with passion and dedication. The Berlin vodka will definitely go its own unique path because good quality always prevails. Projects like these, driven by passion, are what make a brand unique and not only enrich the lives of the makers but also those of their customers. Care and dedication always create the most wonderful products. Products that people happily take the time to consciously enjoy. Cheers.
Since Valentin Böckler won his Vito Mixto at a windsurfing contest, he can be found surfing in various places, mostly accompanied by this vehicle. Suitably converted with bed as well as space for all kinds of sports equipment such as surfboards and bicycles, the vehicle serves him as travel vehicle - and as a mobile living room and bedroom. But not only surf trips, also weekend trips with his family and dog are on the extreme sportsman's program. He's always ready for new adventures. Just back from Vietnam, the route continues directly to Denmark and Austria. Valentin Böckler documents his travels and adventures on his blog of the same name. There he uploads photos, videos and articles about his latest trips and competitions.
MYVAN: How did you come to use the Vito on your travels?
Valentin: In 2016 I won the Mercedes-Benz Surf festival Contest and the first prize was a V-Class for three months. I took a wonderful trip through Italy with it. But after signing as brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Süverkrüp Automobile Kiel in 2017, the whole "Vanlife" thing really got going. The Vito Mixto is best suited for me as a windsurfer. Sufficient space for my windsurfing equipment and I have adapted the conversion to fit to my needs.
MYVAN: What was important for you during the conversion? Would you tell us more about it?
Valentin: As I travel a lot, a bed was essential to me, because I often sleep somewhere on the beach or on trips in the van. There must be enough space under the bed for surfing equipment and I wanted to have space for bicycles on the side. There should also be some space for a rear seat if I want to take more than two people with me. There should also be some storage space for clothes and such. First I did a rough drawing. I picked out the material myself and got it. But my dad helped me with the realization.
MYVAN: What were the biggest difficulties during the conversion?
Valentin: Next to the bed there had to be space for bicycles and in front for the bench and storage space. Thus it was difficult at first to create a construction at all, where you have an "adjustable" part and you can pull the bed in or out sideways. Plus, it couldn‘t be too heavy.
MYVAN: You travel a lot. How do you choose your destinations?
Valentin: Most of my travels are based on the schedule of the competitions. But of course the wind at the destinations has to be right, because without wind I can't train.
MYVAN: What is your dream destination?
Valentin: My dream destination is Hawaii. My sponsor GUNSAILS has already fulfilled this dream and taken me to the international photo shooting in 2013/2014 for two years in a row. After that, I honestly had few more dream destinations. In 2016 I was among the top 5 in a video award for drones and was invited to Norway. I was more than enthusiastic about Norway! If time allows, I'll definitely go back there. I could also imagine the country as a destination for a road trip.
MYVAN: Do you have another travel anecdote you want to tell us?
Valentin: We went to the Hotel Pier at Lake Garda over Easter, because there is the most wind at noon. But unfortunately there is only one parking possibility on the roof of the hotel, because it is located directly on top of a high cliff. The path up there is very steep and feels as if it is only a meter wide. The difficult thing about the whole situation was that in 2016 I still had the extra-long Vito and therefore had huge problems keeping all four wheels on the ground in the curves. On the way down I had to get momentum, because it felt like I just had air under my front axle. I will never forget that and would not recommend anyone to go up there with an extra-long Vito, even if it was a fantastic session!
MYVAN: When and how did you start windsurfing?
Valentin: I was born in Esslingen near Stuttgart, but at the age of six we moved to the north and since then I have been on my windsurfboard every weekend either at the North Sea or Baltic Sea. My dad has been surfing for a long time and he infected me with the virus and taught me everything I know.
MYVAN: Cool. And how did you become a professional windsurfer?
Valentin: Good question. You have to train hard! However, this is no longer sufficient for windsurfing. It is quite difficult to earn money and make a living from it. But if you really want it, you can make anything happen. The key point is actually to push your name in the scene as best you can. This can only be achieved with publications in magazines, cool videos and photos as well as a large online network. During my studies I specialized in online marketing and did an additional PR training program. This has enabled me to make many contacts over the last few years and to embark on a kind of sports career. You have to make sacrifices to practice a sport professionally...
MYVAN: Are you often injured?
Valentin: When windsurfing it can happen that you strain or break something. In 2015 I broke my metatarsus while training in Egypt. After I had the green light to go on the water again, I broke exactly the same bone again in Brazil, this time plus two more. This is not unusual, of course. After repeated tests, we did a blood test. The result was a total lack of iron and nutrients. That's why my bones could never grow together 100%. After an intensive infusion therapy I was able to get back on the water a few months later without problems or pain. In that year I almost put my sporting career behind me...
MYVAN: Luckily you kept going! How did you get fit again?
Valentin: I am fortunate to have the best doctors and physiotherapists around me through the Olympic base in Hamburg. Furthermore, my personal trainer helps me to keep fit. The most important thing is to listen to your body! Even if it's just a cold.
However, in this "injury year" I was able to further advance my second mainstay and thus my independence in online marketing and media alongside all the therapies and physio appointments.
MYVAN: What do you do when you're not travelling or surfing?
Valentin: Due to the many contacts I was able to make through my sport, a solid customer base has developed. This means that there is always something to do on the laptop. New projects come in every month, so it is never boring and always very varied. Nevertheless I am always happy to be home and spend time with my dog and my family before the next trip starts again.
MYVAN: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Still on the waves?
Valentin: Windsurfing is a passion and a way of life. I can't go on without this sport, so I’ll just wait and see how it goes. The mix between sport and my independence fits optimally and I connect many projects with sports and travel. Without windsurfing I would not be where I am today.
The history of puklavec & friends began in the 1930s when Martin Puklavec laid the foundation for the successful family company. The heart of puklavec & friends beats in Jeruzalem-Ormož, a small village in the historical region of Styria. Here, they dedicate their passion to creating truly exceptional wines that enjoy recognition worldwide.
The predominantly transitional climate in Slovenia, between the Mediterranean and the Alps, is ideal for viticulture. Although this region is largely unknown to many, Slovenia has a tradition of wine cultivation dating back more than 2,400 years. The international awards that the wines regularly win reflect just how good they are. White wine, in particular, has a long tradition here. The mineral rich soil still contains shells – traces of the sea that covered the land here 10 million years ago. In combination with the local weather, this creates especially flavorful wines. In addition, harvesting the grapes in this region is still regarded as honest labor. Machine harvesting does not work in the historical terraced vineyards. The practical side effect: the manual harvesting improves the quality of the grape harvest. This, in turn, influences the finished product.
The cellarer and oenologist, Mitja Herga, constantly strives to create the best possible wine. He not only draws on his own experience but also has access to the extensive archive. This only contains the best vintages – including a Sauvignon Blanc from 1956, which the British Queen Mum loved. Constantly striving to produce better and better vintages means that puklavec & friends are in constant motion.
The wines are primarily produced in numerous steel tanks and massive concrete cisterns. Only a small proportion of the various wines from puklavec & friends matures in casks. The modern production methods provide far better control over the quality of the wine and help to maintain a consistently high standard. This is essential, given that quality is one of the wine’s most important characteristics. The numerous international prizes won by the wines are impressive confirmation of this approach. When it comes to such fine products, there is no alternative to discovering them for yourself; a relaxed evening with friends and good wine is almost always a good opportunity. Every glass contains the beauty of Slovenia and the passion of a family that always strives to achieve perfect quality. Another good reason to raise your glass.
Space is scarce in Singapore. That's why not only the blocks of flats but also the warehouses are growing skywards. This also applies to RedMart. A central logistics hub of the online supermarket is located on the upper floors of a ten-story warehouse at the port. Each floor is high enough so that the suppliers' large trucks can easily climb the spiral-shaped driveways. Inside, the customers' purchases are then packed and loaded into a red Vito and then delivered to the doorstep somewhere in the metropolis with a population of 5.6 million. And that's not all; a chic penthouse is located on the roof of the giant block. From here, programmers continuously optimize the RedMart website and manage the up-and-coming start-up. And from here you have a perfect view of the modern city at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula.
"We believe that the Singapore market has a potential of 30,000 deliveries per day," says Jamil Khan, Vice President of Operations at RedMart. Online delivery has existed for six years and has grown steadily since then. Extra momentum has been gained since a subsidiary of the Chinese Alibaba Group joined RedMart. Jamil Khan: "In addition to our financial strength, we are also benefiting from our new shareholder's expertise because we are also learning more about the online business in Asia. We're still in the process of becoming one big organization." While the temperature outside is tropical 32 degrees Celsius, the warehouse is quite fresh. Here the crates with the daily needs of RedMart customers are put together.
One box is meant for Michelle Teo. The young woman is an accountant in a large company and has her purchases delivered when she is at home. "Like most people in Singapore, I work a lot and need up to two hours a day to get to work and back. It's just handy if I don't have to do my shopping after work and drag heavy things like drinks and rice into the apartment." Shopping for everyday necessities online has become part of Michelle Teo’s lifestyle. Just a few clicks on the iPhone is all it takes to update your shopping list and the goods arrive "just in time".
"It is our mission to save our customers time and money for the really important things in life. If you work all week long, you don't want to stand in line at the supermarket on Saturday and have 30 people in front of you," says Jamil Khan. Most people in Singapore have to work hard," says Michelle Teo. "But at the same time, we know how to have fun. The city is great, that's why I want to spend time here with my family and friends, to recharge my batteries and relax." The prerequisite for the success of RedMart is that, in addition to the website with its wide range of products, the price and the quality of the products are right. The start-up is extremely competitive in terms of price, as the company does not have to operate any shop space in addition to the warehouse. RedMart makes sure that customers do not have to pay more than in the major supermarket chains.
When I as a customer see that my online grocery store is driving Mercedes-Benz vehicles, it shows the quality standard.
As far as quality is concerned, it is a crucial success factor, especially in Singapore, where good food is an important part of the culture. Quality is our top priority, so the purchases must be carefully packaged and delivered," says Jamil Khan. "Once customers realize that our products are as fresh as at the supermarket, they usually come back." RedMart attaches great importance to quality not only for its products, but also for its fleet of vehicles. More and more Vitos are being integrated into the fleet. Jamil Khan: "The people in Singapore live very brand-oriented. When I as a customer see that my online grocery store is driving Mercedes-Benz vehicles, it shows the quality standard. This is a clear signal that customers can trust us!"
Rush hour on the streets: Traffic jams lasting for hours make the way to work a veritable ordeal, and rapid progress from A to B is impossible. Alternatives are sought. Flexibility, dynamics and agility are becoming increasingly important - and this is where RYNO comes into play. What at first seems like a slimmed-down version of a motorcycle or the upgrade of a Segway, actually offers much more. The aim is to make motorized passenger transport as comfortable and practical as possible. Elevators, offices and cycle paths are the terrain of the RYNO, because with a maximum speed of approximately 16 kilometers per hour, a range of up to 24 kilometers and a payload of about 117 kilograms, the vehicle offers optimal conditions to act as a partner on the way to work, the next shopping tour or even at the airport. The possibility of a 360-degree turnaround makes the RYNO virtually boundlessly mobile and fills the gaps of the transport system in all areas that could be covered on foot.
For Chris Hoffmann, CEO and founder of RYNO Motors, a joint fishing trip with his 13-year-old daughter was to spark off the exciting idea. Out of the silence she asked, "hey daddy, I saw a one wheel motorcycle in a video game, could something like that actually be built?" Already with 15 years of experience as a machine designer, this question would not let him rest. He started researching and enrolled in a local high school for a mechanical engineering course and built the first prototype. Some models later he was convinced of the advantage that this vehicle would bring in the future. "It's a product that allows people to not isolate themselves in their fast car but to go out among the people and be with them side by side, eye to eye in ways that builds trust and community," explains the inventor.
The potential of the RYNO lies not only in direct communication with fellow human beings, but also in the saving of fuel: Equipped with an electric motor and a double extractable battery system, it reduces emissions not only during the time of use, but also during production. The device can optionally be equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged up to 1,000 times more often than the supplied SLA batteries. The operation is similar to that of a Segway, i.e. if you lean forward, the speed increases, if you lean backwards, it slows down. It is also controlled by your own weight distribution. In dangerous situations, the integrated stop assistance system helps by pushing the wheel forwards and thus accelerating the braking process.
Chris Hoffmann sees in his device, as he says, the potential to participate in the worldwide revolution. In the world's major cities, especially in Asia, congestion could be reduced by shifting traffic from the roads to sidewalks and lanes. The first RYNOs are already on the road in the United States. It is not yet clear whether the move to Europe will follow. "We have moved away from manufacturing the RYNO ourselves to a global business model where we are planning to work through licensing contracts to facilitate the RYNO bike being manufactured locally in different geographic regions," says Hoffmann.
The expansion of electricity began at the end of the 19th century and did not take long for advertisers to identify and use the potential of light. The first illuminated advertising was put into operation at Berlin’s Spittelmarkt in 1896. In the following years, other colorful and brightly lit advertising billboards were created. Naturally, not without the usual challenges that such new concepts have always faced. There were the first local prohibitions followed by a general prohibition for illuminated advertising in the Weimar Republic due to economic reasons. This prohibition was lifted again in 1922, clearing the way for the era of colorfully illuminated, flashing and glittery outdoor advertising that continues to shape the face of the city today.
Above all, the use of illuminated tubes had a major influence on the options available to this type of advertising. Crazy shapes and impressive plays of color raised fluorescent tubes advertising to its own unique art form that we now primarily associate with major cities in the USA. Flickering lights, quietly humming transformers and this fascinatingly slightly cool light that drives away the darkness. There is a reason why so many books and museums have addressed this issue and transport visitors into this shining world.
The history of sygns is by no means as wide-ranging as that of illuminated advertising. However, the young company with its branches in Berlin and Gothenburg is making every effort to breathe new life into this traditional craft and is dedicated to its continuation. The idea itself is incredibly simple. At sygns, the neon tubes are shaped into almost any design. Regardless of whether customers always wanted certain sign in the living room or the reception area of a major company will be decorated with an illuminated logo. sygns works with various glassblowers throughout the country who are masters of the old craft of drawing, bending and pressing neon tubes into almost any shape. This is nowhere near as easy as one might think. The process takes a lot of thought in order to create a bending plan because the results need to be convincing from every perspective.
More than just private customers make use of sygns’ services: artists, designers, major companies and small companies, restaurants and bars benefit from the experts’ skills and network. Finding glassblowers who are capable of creating complex images and writing out of the long glass tubes is a challenging job in itself. There are almost no young craftsmen left in this trade. Drawing on sygns’ network is a good idea – more so thanks to the complete service up to and including delivery to your doorstep.
More and more people are being drawn to the cities, while rural areas will become increasingly deserted in the future - this is how many scientists predict the immediate population development. Alexander Mankowsky, however, sees it differently. Mankwosky is a futurologist at Daimler. His thesis: In the future, people will gradually turn their backs on the crowded cities and instead move back to the countryside, where families in particular would appreciate the peace and quiet and where rents are affordable. The main drivers of this anticipated development of "de-urbanization" a new social mobility, flexible working models and a fluid, decentralized understanding of transport and logistics, which is expressed in a culture of sharing and shared benefit. And this is established above all by automation and digitization and made possible by vans, robots and drones. Still sounding a little specific? Then one thing after the other.
For Mankowsky, technology is first and foremost the engine of social and societal change. It is already apparent how current technological developments will shape the society of the future. "When I say "now," I mean in maybe seven to ten years," Mankowsky says with a smile. Time seems to take place in different relations with a futurologist. In any case, Mankowsky is certain that in ten years autonomous vehicles will dominate urban traffic, autonomous taxis will be used and drones, which are launched from vans, will take over the delivery of all kinds of goods, among other things. "We can already see the roots of all this, development is already underway."
In fact, Mercedes-Benz Vans is driving such innovations. Mercedes-Benz has developed an exciting cooperation project with the Californian company Matternet for tomorrow's logistics solutions. Vans & Drones is the name of the joint venture in which drones use the vans with the star as the basis for their delivery orders. Together with Starship Technologies, the Swabian vans are also revolutionizing last mile logistics; at Vans & Robots, robots that are transported by a van to the appropriate delivery location deliver the parcels individually to the customer.
More and more people will live outside the cities, but thanks to flexible working models from there they can still remain part of the production and working world. New mobility and connectivity concepts will ensure the connection and exchange of different sectors. In the society predicted by Mankowsky, however, vans, robots, drones and autonomous vehicles are more than mere suppliers. They are part of a comprehensive mobility system of communicating machines which, depending on the situation, react unpredictably but individually and intelligently to human needs - to relieve the burden on people, of course.
"Vans are the hidden champion in all this change immobility," explains Mankowsky," because it is from the space truly universal. You can do so many things in them: you can produce stuff, you can have your own workshop. Another possibility would be the delivery of goods - it is a very flexible system." The futurologist calls this variable "workshop" or FabLab, which can be adapted to the respective needs - and thus enable a completely different source of creativity. "In the future," says the native Swabian with conviction, "people will simply be able to meet in these workshops without having to be in a densely populated city. They will be able to choose a suitable place and meet there for a certain period of time to develop more individual, creative products".
But what role will electromobility play in this concept? The futurologist emphasizes: "One thing is certain: we must avoid CO2 because of global warming. However, electrification does not necessarily have to be accompanied by a battery. The energy source is something separate - it could be hydrogen, there is room for innovation." Pollution on one hand, noise pollution on the other: Could electrically powered vans be the long-awaited solution in congested urban areas? Due to lower noise level it would be possible to have deliveries also take place at night. Combined with autonomous driving systems and simultaneous integration of drones or robots, this certainly represents an innovative step towards unlimited mobility.
Today's society is separated from each other.
In line with Mankowsky's vision, new challenges, such as increasing flexibility and self-organization, are coming to the fore. These, going back to the evolutionary process, are not really new: The principle of sharing will therefore again take up a central basic idea, which has been developed over thousands of years and is now to be realigned. "Today's society is separated from each other," explains the Swabian. "When we move to Shanghai for projects, the desire to stay in touch grows. And then Facebook isn't enough." According to Mankowsky, real touch is needed, which Mankowsky sees in the joint use of things.
The futurologist explains his theory using the example of certain boxes. Whether work, car or home: nowadays people are always accessible - in their respective boxes. The solution? A kind of free space community where you can live, work and be creative. In this new constellation, the production of goods will also play an important role. Avant-gardists would already take a step ahead of society by abandoning e-commerce products - and simply producing their own goods. With this way of life they are more dynamic and mobile than ever before. An idea that Mankowsky envisages in his planning for the whole of society: "Decentralization in order to form a network. "Technologically speaking, this is innovation in the works." So this change is also an opportunity to be able to do what one wants, to be creative and to realize one's dreams.