Urban Transport

Ford employee designs funky Carr-E for crucial last-mile commute

Ford employee designs funky Ca...
The Carr-E has a range of 22 km 
The Carr-E has a range of 22 km 
View 5 Images
The Carr-E has a range of 22 km 
1/5
The Carr-E has a range of 22 km 
A peek under the skin of the Carr-E 
2/5
A peek under the skin of the Carr-E 
The rear of the Carr-E is loosely modeled on the Ford GT
3/5
The rear of the Carr-E is loosely modeled on the Ford GT
The four-wheeled Carr-E can hold up to 120 kg of human user or cargo
4/5
The four-wheeled Carr-E can hold up to 120 kg of human user or cargo
The Carr-E is a finalist in Ford's Last Mile Challenge
5/5
The Carr-E is a finalist in Ford's Last Mile Challenge
View gallery - 5 images

As crowded city centers and congested main roads become more crowded and congested, a growing number of car manufacturers and transport companies are looking to develop compact last-mile solutions. Ford threw the commute conundrum over to its employees in the Last Mile Mobility Challenge, which returned over 600 ideas. Among the finalists is the Carr-E.

It might be small, but the Carr-E has an impressive set of capabilities. Designed by a systems engineer based in Cologne, Germany, it's able to carry people or objects weighing up to 120 kg (265 lb) at up to 18 km/h (11 mph). Range is limited to 22 km (13.7 mi), which should be more than enough to scoot from a car park to the office or train station.

Being able to carry humans is one thing, but the Carr-E also shines as a load-lugging device. Having piled it up with cargo, owners can slip a beacon into their pocket and start walking, at which point the circular little scooter will start following them.

The rear of the Carr-E is loosely modeled on the Ford GT
The rear of the Carr-E is loosely modeled on the Ford GT

Ultrasonic sensors on the front of the unit give it obstacle-avoidance capability, and there are functioning lights on the front and rear. There's even built-in GPS, although there's no word on what role it serves (perhaps so owners can track a stolen Carr-E, or for autonomous trundling between start and destination points).

"We really need to reinvent the wheel, to find new approaches to mobility," says designer Kilian Vas. "When developing the Carr-E, I was inspired by Ford's expansion into both an auto and a mobility company, but I'm also aware of how rapidly cities are growing and how getting around urban areas will become progressively more complicated. I really wanted to create a device that makes commuting easier and more fun."

Ford, or more specifically Kilian Vas, isn't alone in exploring the concept of car-integrated last-mile transport. Audi showed off a longboard that can be stored in the bumper of a Q3 SUV earlier this year, and the folding Peugeot Design eF01 bike can be docked in the boot of the 5008 SUV. All offer a unique take on modern urban mobility, but all are similar in their intentions.

Ford isn't the only company to encourage its employees to explore their creative side either. Today, Daimler announced a pop-up platform for creativity, where employees can sit down with a coach and flesh out any ideas they might have about the future of the brand.

Check out the Carr-E in the video below. It's up against an electric trike and a semi-autonomous electric wheelchair in the finals of the Last Mile Mobility Challenge. We're waiting for news on when the winner(s) will be announced, and if any of the designs will go on to production.

Source: Ford

View gallery - 5 images
14 comments
navmed
So, basically a hoverboard? A hoverboard would be lighter and easier to carry, assuming of course they fix the exploding battery problem.
Paul Anthony
Not much clearance. Forget any rough transitions like a ramp or gutter.
Buellrider
Most people can walk faster and also do not have to then carry that thing once you get to your destination. As for using it as a pack mule, you'd have to worry that someone would reach down and grab your property and run off with it. You certainly could not have that thing trailing behind you unless it had a compartment that locked which it doesn't in its current configuration. I'm not sure there is any value in this Carr-E at least in its shown uses. Two thumbs down.
BobbieLittlefield
This is a great idea (if it carries up to 250 lbs) as a commuters dream escape pod! So many commuters have to park at least a mile from their destination in crowded cities...
CharlieSeattle
Ford finding ways ways to make people exercise less.
pickypilot
My wife has three of those things already. They're called Roombas.
MartijnRaaijmakers
Why not walk?
frogola
well i can't walk 11 miles per hour and i like the idea of 4 wheels instead of a balancing act. also if it can carry 250 pound 5 feet behind me and avoid obstacles for 13 miles damn what more do you want it to do. still bigger wheels would be better.
watersworm
Who stole my vacuum cleaner robot ?
SandroDesideri
I am not sure whether this is real innovation or just toy's design; - it does not go over stairs or any obstacle - you have to get it out of your trunk and then recharge it and maintain it and etc etc - it would not make you healthier. This is not a great service for Ford !!!