Rocketship megatruck aims to change transport for good
The spaceship-cum-HGV you see here is the Innotruck, which is one big fat feasibility study into the personal mobility issues of the future.
Built by the clever dudes and dudettes at the Technical University Munich (TUM), Innotruck is the embodiment of the university's 'Diesel Reloaded' project. It sounds like an eau de toilette pour hommes, but it actually aims to demonstrate how paradigm shifts in automotive, energy, and information technologies can help to address societal needs in future, we're told.
If you're not quite sure what that really means, it's a fancy way of saying that this truck has some cool stuff in it - the Innotruck is a big, mobile demo facility for tech including drive-by-wire, car-to-car communications and driver display interfaces.
For example, the aeroplane-like nosecone contains a display (below) that senses and adapts to the driver's ability, alertness level and driving environment. It will only present relevant traffic and vehicle information when it's needed, and when it calculates that the driver can cope with it.
The idea is to see the car as a "mobility partner" that adapts to its driver's capability and travel patterns, as well as the traffic.
The car of the future should also be modular in construction, says TUM, so the owner is able to make it bigger or smaller as needs develop.
It means that the vehicle is much cheaper overall, because owners need not keep replacing their car when their circumstances change - when children arrive, for example.
Leading engineer Prof. Dr. Gernot Spiegelberg adds that "products and services can pay for themselves if they also, for example, provide new options that enable members of an aging population to remain independent and mobile despite changes in their physical and cognitive abilities."
The Innotruck demonstrates all these things, as well as acting as a giant docking station for electric vehicles, so they can draw charge from it. It takes energy from solar cells, in-built wind turbines and regenerative braking.
It's due to be shown at the MobiliTec trade fair in Hannover next week.