Automotive

Radical Innotruck showcases emerging transport technology

Radical Innotruck showcases em...
The striking Innotruck vehicle is designed to be a testbed and demonstrator for experimental vehicle technologies (Photo: TU München)
The striking Innotruck vehicle is designed to be a testbed and demonstrator for experimental vehicle technologies (Photo: TU München)
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The truck’s distinctive looks come thanks to noted automotive designer Prof. Luigi Colani (Photo: TU München)
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The truck’s distinctive looks come thanks to noted automotive designer Prof. Luigi Colani (Photo: TU München)
The striking Innotruck vehicle is designed to be a testbed and demonstrator for experimental vehicle technologies (Photo: TU München)
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The striking Innotruck vehicle is designed to be a testbed and demonstrator for experimental vehicle technologies (Photo: TU München)
The Innotruck trailer includes informational displays (Photo: TU München)
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The Innotruck trailer includes informational displays (Photo: TU München)
The Innotruck trailer includes informational displays (Photo: TU München)
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The Innotruck trailer includes informational displays (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck, with an accompanying electric car (Photo: TU München)
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Innotruck, with an accompanying electric car (Photo: TU München)
Aerodynamics are a key consideration in Innotruck's design (Photo: TU München)
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Aerodynamics are a key consideration in Innotruck's design (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck's technologies include drive-by-wire operation, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications, and plug-and-play applications (Photo: TU München)
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Innotruck's technologies include drive-by-wire operation, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications, and plug-and-play applications (Photo: TU München)
Aerodynamics are a key consideration in Innotruck's design (Photo: TU München)
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Aerodynamics are a key consideration in Innotruck's design (Photo: TU München)
Outlets allow other EVs to recharge from Innotruck (Photo: TU München)
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Outlets allow other EVs to recharge from Innotruck (Photo: TU München)
Inside Innotruck's cab (Photo: TU München)
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Inside Innotruck's cab (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck features displays and controls that can adapt to each driver’s capabilities (Photo: TU München)
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Innotruck features displays and controls that can adapt to each driver’s capabilities (Photo: TU München)
Inside Innotruck's cab (Photo: TU München)
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Inside Innotruck's cab (Photo: TU München)
Inside Innotruck's trailer (Photo: TU München)
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Inside Innotruck's trailer (Photo: TU München)
Inside Innotruck's trailer (Photo: TU München)
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Inside Innotruck's trailer (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck on display (Photo: TU München)
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Innotruck on display (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck's distinctive nose cone (Photo: TU München)
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Innotruck's distinctive nose cone (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck, with an accompanying electric car (Photo: TU München)
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Innotruck, with an accompanying electric car (Photo: TU München)

Last November, Mercedes showed off its futuristic Aero Trailer concept at a transport truck show in Belgium. While it certainly looked quite sleek and efficient, it certainly wasn’t as eye-popping as the full tractor/trailer combo that will be on display later this month in Germany. Known as Innotruck, the bizarre vehicle is part of Technische Universität München (Technical University Munich)’s Diesel Reloaded project, which “aims to demonstrate how paradigm shifts in automotive, energy, and information technologies can help to address major societal trends and needs.”

Innotruck is intended to serve as both a testbed and a demonstration vehicle for a number of emerging technologies. These include drive-by-wire operation, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications, and plug-and-play applications.

The electric vehicle also has displays and controls that can adapt to each driver’s capabilities, and to constantly-changing conditions such as traffic flow and driver alertness. This ensures that the driver will never be deluged with more information than they need for the task currently at hand, but will also automatically receive data as it is needed.

Innotruck features displays and controls that can adapt to each driver’s capabilities (Photo: TU München)
Innotruck features displays and controls that can adapt to each driver’s capabilities (Photo: TU München)

Energy management is another major focus of Innotruck. Described as a “micro smart grid,” the vehicle is able to manage the energy flow not only from its battery pack, but also from onboard solar cells, wind turbines and regenerative brakes. It even features electrical outlets along its sides, so other vehicles can recharge from it when it’s stopped, and so it can release energy into the municipal grid.

The truck’s distinctive looks come thanks to noted automotive designer Prof. Luigi Colani – it definitely bears at least a passing resemblance to the eleMMent recreational vehicle, which is based on one of his designs.

Innotruck can be seen at the MobiliTec international trade fair at the Hannover Messe, from April 23rd to 27th.

Source: Technische Universität München

27 comments
Caimbeul
About the dumbest piece of design I ever saw.
Adrien
I hope they don't grant that thing permission to use the roads. I can't imagine how stupid one would have to be to think that facing outwards when going around a corner was a good idea. Let alone spend money building it. Looks like visibility while turning would be a complete nightmare, you'd need to crane your head around. Hate to think what motion sickness it would also cause. Reminds me of the Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses...
Marco Gonzalez
The looks are not original. Somehow it reminds me the trucks on the TV series "Highwayman". I would not worry too much about corners. Being a drive-by-wire i think there would be plenty of cameras to avoid any blindspots
Gadgeteer
Colani has always been an "artiste" first and foremost. Attention-grabbing looks are his stock in trade. Functionality is not high on his list of priorities. This particular design is clearly his homage to the Concorde, and that aircraft had more than its fair share of practical shortcomings.
Michael Mantion
of all the concepts I have seen on Gizmag this is by far the best. Normally I think concept vehicles are complete waste of money, but this is pretty good. I have said many times that truck are not aerodynamic. I remember seeings similar design on a tv show many years ago. If they start making this it will change the trucking industry for ever.
BigGoofyGuy
It looks like something that came out of or used in a scifi movie. I don't think it would be practical for driving on roads; maybe if it is just highways turnpikes.
Gearhead
'The Homer' car at last has a truck equivalent. Mmmmmm. Pointy....
Mr Stiffy
That would have to be one of the nicest looking trucks I have ever seen. Slightly overdone in the aerodynamics dept but very good none the less. As my good friend Carol Shelby once noted about the supersonic aircraft style ducting and body work on the Formula One cars.... "The F1 cars operate in the same speed range as a DC3. We need the guy who designed the DC3 to do the aerodynamics of the F1 cars, not the people who designed the super sonic jet fighters." It's quite nice in it's own way but if you try to drive that into some of the truck loading bays with steep entrances and exits, the nose will hit the front tractor. So in some respects, it's not bad, but it's also a bit dumb from the practical vehicle point of view. The designer is in love with the flowing lines, not the practical realities of driving trucks.
Dirk Scott
Oh dear, has not Prof. Luigi Colani noticed that almost the entire transport of the world is now CONTAINERISED. Ports, loading bays, storage, refrigeration, ships, cranes... all are designed around the standard shipping container. Its the reason why trucks are the shape they are, because it is more important that streamlining and offers greater financial return .
Dirk Scott
Actually it looks like Concorde without the wings, and is probably about as practical!