Autonomous cargo bike to ease "last mile" in logistics

December 22, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Autonomous cargo bike to smoothen the "last mile" in logistics
The engineering expert IAV GmbH is working together with the Research Centre for Information Technology (FZI) on an intelligent and networked electric cargo trciycle: the vehicle is to recognise its rider and follow him autonomously.

The development partners IAV and the FZI research institute regard the development of an autonomous cargo bike as an important step towards the desired series-production readiness of the e-bike, which is intended to make work easier for delivery services and logistics service providers. In the second phase of the project, which is just getting underway, the steering and braking systems, which have so far been bought in, are to be replaced by components developed in-house. This should significantly reduce the total weight of the wheel and improve its handling. In addition, the new components should make the switch between autonomous and normal driving operation smoother. In addition, the project partners want to further develop the software of the cargo bike.

The delivery bike, which is equipped with an electric motor, recognises a pre-registered driver via a follow-me camera function and follows him independently at walking pace. This eliminates the need to constantly get on and off the bike or push it when delivering mail, for example. The Digital Service Assistant Dashboard (DiSA) also enables networked fleet management with intelligent route and deployment planning. It also allows the most important operating and maintenance parameters to be viewed and evaluated - at any time and worldwide.

IAV had already presented a prototype of such a cargo bike at CES 2020, which is intended for later use in various industries. Logistics companies and postmen could use it for their daily work and stow letters and parcels in the bike's access-secured box. Particularly on factory premises, it would be a good idea to automate logistics tasks with the support of the cargo bike - thus facilitating work processes and saving costs.

The project is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

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