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Aerospace industry exploring future of mobility in tomorrow's cities

The modular U-Shift has been designed for use with a range of different capsules for passengers and cargo. — Picture courtesy of DLR via AFP
The modular U-Shift has been designed for use with a range of different capsules for passengers and cargo. — Picture courtesy of DLR via AFP

STUTTGART, Sept 22 — The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has unveiled a prototype electric vehicle, which is both autonomous and modular. Christened the U-Shift, the concept, which can carry both passengers and goods, has been designed to operate 24 hours a day in the cities of the future.

The new multi-purpose vehicle, which has been shown for the first time in Stuttgart, Germany, mainly stands out for its modularity. It is composed of two distinct parts, a U-shaped driveboard with four wheels and a motor, which serves as a base for a variety of capsules for the transport of people or goods.

This modular system has been developed to cater to a variety of future mobility and logistics needs in the cities of the future.

Comparable in size to a large van, the U-Shift can be equipped with a glassed-in capsule for public transport of passengers or parcels. In the passenger configuration shown, it was equipped with seven seats, while the cargo version had space for several pallets or rolling cabinets.

In theory the driverless concept will be able to operate at low speeds for 24 hours a day, and park by itself when need be.

The next stage in its development will be to improve the performance of the U-Shift, and to equip it with more sensors to ensure that it can operate independently in all kinds of environments. The next fully automated prototype, which will be able to reach speeds of 60 kph, is expected to go on show in 2024. — AFP-Relaxnews

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