EDAG, the automotive engineering firm, has an extensive history of bringing stimulating, unconventional cars, like pop-up sports car campers and skeletal 3D-printed light cars. In current years, it’s been more content contributing to ideas and products from other brands, including Bosch. But it made a magnificent comeback at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, launching a smart, talking autonomous concept car that efficiently couples with several modules to execute tasks of all kinds and magnitudes in and around urban areas.
“Hello, I am CityBot, the future of mobility in cities. I am happy to reply to any questions you may have.”
That’s simply a very loose paraphrase because I found myself more focused on keeping decent after jumping back in amazement when EDAG’s IAA 2019 concept car started up a chat with me. I was strolling around the vehicle’s front corner to see what the odd arm sticking out of its hood was. Not even having a hint about the concept car before spotting it at the show, I expected that the arm was some sort of work tool or crane which appeared to fit right in with the functional six-wheeled profile. Useless to say, I wasn’t ready for it to watch me dead in the eyes and start chatting.
Frankfurt Messe recently month held the International Motor Show (IAA), with ample of food for future thought including EDAG Engineering Group’s ‘CityBot’.
The entirely self-directed networked robot vehicle is skilled in managing a wide variety of transport and work conditions.
The EDAG Engineering Group is an engineering service provider for vehicle improvement and prototype construction and the company defines its new EDAG CityBot as “a multifunctional, entirely autonomous robot vehicle with swarm intelligence, which is power-driven by an emission-free fuel cell drive”.
Apart from being just a talking robot car designed to intrigue children and spook journalists at auto shows, the CityBot is a visualisation for a fully networked urban mobility system. It is also a 50th-anniversary project for EDAG, which rejoices the breakthrough by what it is known for: pushing the discussion forward with innovative, boundary-smashing concept cars.
CityBot – a versatile six-wheeler
The CityBot isn’t only a six-wheeled vehicle as it is first perceived to be, but instead it is a combination of utility and drive modules. The concept is that the four-wheeled autonomous cab, along with its pop-up talking robot head, can combine with various trailers and “rucksacks,” executing a busy plan of jobs throughout the day. The add-on utility components include different style and size cargo carriers, a passenger cell and cleaning modules. Deploying these various modules, the robo-drive cab can work untiringly 24/7. A hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in replacement of the battery-electric powertrain in autonomous concepts like this indicates that each drive unit avoids harmful emissions while also means spending less time in a refuelling station.
Not only is the CityBot; a clean, quiet fanciful vehicle for megacities, but EDAG establishes it as the building block of a versatile smoother, more free-flowing solution for strained urban mobility systems that are becoming less “mobile” each day. By donning a full variety of hats during the course of the day and night, one CityBot can remove more than four privately possessed cars on the road while meeting all the same moving demands, according to EDAG. Rather than wasting hours sitting in the parking lot or a driveway— 23 hours of a vehicle’s day, according to EDAG’s statistics — each drive unit can be out moving people or working without wasting time. EDAG envisions CityBots substituting not only private cars but package delivery vans, municipal work vehicles, waste management trucks and much more.
In addition to eliminating 80 per cent of the vehicles on the road, the swarm intelligence and networking of the CityBot system would further reorganise traffic flow, reducing congestion. Pair that with digital payment processing and on-demand vehicle ordering, and the idea is to sustain the freedom and ease of personal mobility while making freer, cleaner, more suitable cities in the face of increasing population growth.
While many previous EDAG concept cars have regularly been entirely out there, EDAG isn’t the only one in thinking that the prospect of urban mobility will focus around modular, autonomous, multipurpose automobiles. The pop-up “avatar” placed as a human-like means of interacting with people around the vehicle is a turning point, but the CityBot is quite similar to the Snap concepts from Rinspeed and Scania’s NXT.
On the whole, the CityBot feels like a credible way of tackling pollution, traffic and other problems of rising urban centres in the distant future. So how about a casual chat with the car parked at the corner-better to be prepared rather than being a square peg in a round hole in the future.