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“A smart solution for the final mile in logistics” is what it is to become, the intelligent and networked e-cargo bike that recognizes its rider and follows them around independently. The Berlin engineering company IAV is working on just such a smart bike. It’s doing this with the FZI Research Center for Information Technology (FZI). Together with their project partners and with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the two companies are now embarking on the next phase of development of the Cargobike. The developers say that this is an important step toward the targeted series-production stage of the e-bike, which is intended to make work easier for delivery services and logistics service providers.

In this second stage of the project, the inventors want to replace the steering and braking systems, which are still manufactured by other companies, with components they have been specially designed for it. This is how they aim to significantly reduce the overall weight of the bicycle and improve its handling performance. The new components will also make the transition between autonomous and normal operations smoother. Cargobike’s software is also being further developed.

No more hopping on and off or wheeling it along

“With the Cargobike, we are developing a sustainable and connected solution for last-mile delivery in urban environments,” says Simon Heine, Senior Vice President Chassis and Suspension at IAV. “We are delighted to receive funding from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, which will give an important boost to the further development of the Cargobike as a new element of an interconnected and intelligent fleet.”

The bike is equipped with an electric motor and uses a Follow-me camera function to identify a pre-registered rider, whom it follows independently at a walking pace. This means that in the future, the postie will no longer have to constantly get on and off the bike or push it along. The Digital Service Assistant (DiSA) also enables networked fleet management with intelligent route and dispatch planning. This also makes it possible to view and assess the most important operating and maintenance parameters – at any time and anywhere in the world, the inventors point out.

A prototype of the bike was first presented at the CES 2020 trade fair. Logistics companies and mail carriers could use it in their daily work and stow letters and parcels in the bike’s access-secured box. It would also be ideal on factory premises, where logistical tasks could be automated with the aid of the Cargobike. This would in turn simplify work processes and save on costs.