Just as bike riders begin to grapple with the implications of driverless motor cars taking to the streets, we could also come face-to-face with something more familiar—a robot on bike wheels.
Or should that be face-to-camera?
Yes, the riderless cargo bike is just around the corner.
A team of mechanical engineers, computer scientists, logistics specialists and environmental psychologists from the Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg in Germany is working together to develop an autonomous e-bike that can navigate independently.
You just dial it up and it comes to you to be loaded up and sent on its way.
The aim of the scientists is to provide on-call service for autonomous cargo bicycles in Magdeburg.
As they envisage it, in a few years’ time a fleet of e-bikes will complement public and individual local transport in an ecologically and economically effective manner.
They will be incorporated into a bike sharing system that operates in and around the university campus.
A prototype of the e-bike is being tested in Magdeburg.
Equipped with highly developed measuring technology, the cargo bike “detects" kerbs or other road users and can analyse which sensors are best suited for different weather conditions.
At the same time, environmental psychologists want to conduct surveys with potential users of this unusual vehicle.
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.