Volkswagen’s new electric delivery van can drive itself

The mail delivery van of the future, a joint project of Volkswagen Group Research and the German Post Office, sports electric wheel hub motors, and can be operated semi-automatically.

 

Volkswagen unveiled a concept vehicle called the eT! at the Design Center of Potsdam, Germany, last week. The mail delivery van of the future, a joint project of Volkswagen Group Research and the German Post Office, sports electric wheel hub motors, and can be operated semi-automatically.

The eT! has a couple of semi-automatic modes – it can follow the delivery person from house to house (“Follow me”), or return to the delivery person on command (“Come to me”). The driver can also control the van from the passenger’s side, using a “drive stick.” The side facing the sidewalk has an automated sliding door that can open to two different stages. This enables “extremely quick entry into the vehicle” – for a fast escape from a dog, or perhaps an overly aggressive Hausfrau – and eliminates unnecessary walking around the vehicle.

Professor Doctor Jürgen Leohold, Director of Volkswagen Group Research: “We analyzed process flows and customer needs in detail, and from these analyses we derived ideas on how the segment of delivery and courier vehicles could be further developed over the long term. In this context, we focused on zero-emissions driving and available space in urban areas, semi-automatic driving functions that offer relevant support and simplify work processes and the integration of new communication technologies.” If you think that’s a mouthful, imagine how it sounded in the original German. Ach du lieber!

 

Image: Volkswagen