This modular electric platform can pull any vehicle attached to it… like a futuristic horse

Building on perhaps one of the oldest modes of transportation, the U-Shift from DLR is an electric skateboard of sorts that plugs into a variety of modules, becoming a part of them… like a horse attaching itself to a chariot. Equipped with a powerful electric drivetrain capable of great torque, the U-Shift can pull modules with humans or cargo, allowing it to serve multiple functions in one format.

While some laud it as the future of logistics (and it certainly might be), it has roots embedded in history dating millennia ago! Just the way a single horse could pull a cart, a chariot, or a caravan with humans + cargo, the U-Shift has the ability to pull anything it’s attached to. Designed to suit modern conditions (because we don’t really use horses anymore), the U-Shift is capable of traveling larger distances non-stop, and silently. The first DLR U-Shift prototype was presented at the Interim Conference of the Strategic Dialogue for the Automotive Sector at Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart last week. “We want to make tomorrow’s mobility more sustainable, effective, and convenient,” said Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Baden-Württemberg Minister for Economic Affairs. “Entirely new products and business models can emerge from futuristic innovations such as the U-Shift vehicle concept.”

Currently, the U-Shift prototype is controlled remotely, but future iterations of the electric driveboard are likely to be fully autonomous. For now, DLR has demoed the U-Shift along with a standard cargo-capsule, capable of carrying 4 Euro-sized pallets of freight eight barred rolling cabinets, and a mini-bus passenger capsule, with enough space for comfortably seating 7 people.

Designer: DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt)