Is it a shuttle, is it a bus, is it a cargo van. No. It’s all of these things?
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has come with a new futuristic vehicle concept, unlike anything you might have seen before.
The agencies U-shift vehicle concept can transform itself from a cargo pod to an on-call bus, or even a mobile sales vehicle.
The design is built around central capsule-like structures attached to the top – a bit like a scaled-down semi-truck.
Key to the design is that it lies extremely low to the ground and, because it is autonomous, it doesn’t require a driver’s seat.
The DLR believe that the vechile would be cheaper to use than other specialty-use vehicles because the backs could be quickly spawwed out without requiring a new drivetrain.
The design allows for four pallets or eight rolling cabinets when configured for cago and its’ passenger pod would allow seven normal seats and one additional folding seat.
Of course, while the concept assumes it will be fully autonomous, real-world technology isn’t quite there yet and the prototype is remote-controlled for the time being.
The next step for the DLR will be improving the up the concept’s drivetrain, battery capacity and networking hardware.