German Aerospace Center's U-Shift concept modular vehicle - Business Insider

Germany's aerospace center has unveiled a concept modular electric vehicle that can change from a bus to a cargo van

9/25/2020 3:34:00 PM

Germany's aerospace center has unveiled a concept modular electric vehicle that can change from a bus to a cargo van

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— all have a stake in the multi-use shared electric vehicle platform development space.But unlike other automakers, DLR's concept platform has a uniquely U-shaped drive board that was designed to be both electric and autonomous with the ability to operate at any time during the day.

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The U-Shift drive­board.Its current prototype version, while not yet autonomous, is controllable by remote.The current prototype is similar in size to a large van, according to its maker.The U-Shift's cargo capsule.Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center), CC-BY 3.0

The passenger capsule has eight seats, including one folding seat, and the door is equipped with a ramp for increased accessibility.Meanwhile, the cargo capsule has enough room to accommodate four Euro pallets, which are 2.62 feet long, 3.94 feet wide, and 0.47 feet tall, according to

EPAL.Besides the cargo and shuttle bus iterations, DLR says the vehicle could also be used as an "on-call bus" or sales vehicle.The U-Shift's passenger capsule.Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center), CC-BY 3.0

Although the U-Shift is still in prototype mode, its maker is now in talks with manufacturers, operators, and local citizens. Moving forward, the conversations held with the latter group will help shape the U-Shift's design and functions.Looking forward, the designers will be working to test new batteries, improve the drivetrain's performance, and install the necessary features needed for autonomous driving, according to DLR.

The U-Shift.DLR is also trying to design a system that will lift and drop off the capsules.A different automated prototype will be released in 2024.The U-Shift drive­board.The upcoming prototype will be able to hit up to 37.28 miles-per-hour.Newsletter

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