Following co-operation with the German post office and the University of Art at Braunsshweig, Volkswagen produced the ET, an urban electric concept van designed to drive unmanned on command.

Fitted with electric wheel hub motors, VW claimed the ET could be operated with zero emissions if refueled with electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

It also claimed the ET could respond to spoken commands, such as “follow me” or “come to me” and be set in motion without the delivery driver being inside the vehicle.

Alternatively the driver can direct the vehicle’s movements via a drive stick from the passenger side that also offers a “standing seat” and quick access in and out of the van. The near, or working side of the vehicle also features an electric sliding door with two settings to allow quick access to the load area. VW claims these innovations will eliminate the need to walk around the vehicle to get to the mail.

Revealed at the Potsdam Design Centre, VW claimed variations of the ET delivery van could be adapted to suit “all conceivable business uses”.

It said the concept could indicate the direction commercial vehicles could take from the second half of this decade.