Urban Transport

Self-powered Trailerduck takes the weight off of bicycle deliveries

Self-powered Trailerduck takes...
The Trailerduck cargo trailer matches the speed of the bike that's towing it, up to a maximum of about 30 km/h (19 mph)
The Trailerduck cargo trailer matches the speed of the bike that's towing it, up to a maximum of about 30 km/h (19 mph)
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The Trailerduck cargo trailer matches the speed of the bike that's towing it, up to a maximum of about 30 km/h (19 mph)
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The Trailerduck cargo trailer matches the speed of the bike that's towing it, up to a maximum of about 30 km/h (19 mph)
The Trailerduck can handle a payload of up to 300 kg (661 lb)
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The Trailerduck can handle a payload of up to 300 kg (661 lb)
The Trailerduck is just 1 meter wide (3.3 ft), so it can travel both on main roadways and in bike lanes
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The Trailerduck is just 1 meter wide (3.3 ft), so it can travel both on main roadways and in bike lanes
A rendering of the Ducktrain system in use
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A rendering of the Ducktrain system in use
View gallery - 4 images

Cargo bicycles may indeed be a clean, green option for making urban deliveries, but they can only carry moderately sized loads. The Trailerduck lets bikes haul much more cargo, by matching its power and steering to that of the bike that's towing it – and a subsequent system may require no bike at all.

Manufactured by German startup DroidDrive, the Trailerduck is an electric-motorized four-wheeled cargo trailer that is connected to a bicycle via a system-specific drawbar. That bar contains sensors that detect the speed of the bike, along with the direction in which it's turning. The trailer responds by accelerating, braking and turning accordingly.

As a result, although the cyclist is guiding the Trailerduck, they don't have to work at actually pulling its weight along behind them. That's an important consideration, given the fact that the trailer can handle a payload of up to 300 kg (661 lb). It's just 1 meter wide (3.3 ft), though, so it can travel both on main roadways and in bike lanes.

It's essentially a bigger, stronger equivalent of some consumer-oriented powered bike trailers we've seen, such as the Biomega Ein.

DroidDrive is currently taking preorders for the Trailerduck, with shipping of the first units expected to start in the fourth quarter of next year. They will also be available to rent, for €499 (about US$587) per month.

A rendering of the Ducktrain system in use
A rendering of the Ducktrain system in use

The fun doesn't stop there, though, as the company is also developing what it calls the Ducktrain system. This consists of a platoon of up to five Duck electric cargo vehicles (quite similar to the Trailerduck), which use LiDAR technology to wirelessly track and follow a lead human-driven vehicle such as a cargo bike. This means that although the lead vehicle and the Ducks form a train, none of them are physically linked to one another.

What's more, it is hoped that within about three years, the Ducks will be able to travel at least part of their delivery routes autonomously, without the need for a guiding vehicle in front. According to the company, the Ducks are already physically ready to perform this function, and would simply require a software update.

Source: Trailerduck

View gallery - 4 images
3 comments
3 comments
Ralf Biernacki
I like the idea of gradually weaning them off bicycle guidance. But I think the bicyclist delivery person is there to stay, eventually riding at the *rear* of the train to supervise it and protect packages against casual theft and vandalism.

Also, unlike most e-mobility startups, they sensibly opt for rental (to food and package delivery businesses, presumably) rather than the usual enterpreneurial disastrous business plan of trying to sell non-mass produced units to individual buyers at astronomical prices. Two thumbs up.
vince
This is the future of ALL trailers world wide. From tiny bike trailers to full size Semi trailers. By powering the wheels on a Semi truck it allows more regenerative braking and far safer on downhill Interstates. Plus the trailer can be made to either extend the range of the Semi truck by pushing it's stored battery power to the Semi or push it to it's own wheels powered by in wheel motors or separate motors like a Tesla or most EV's today. This also will make jack knifing a thing of the past because the trailer will be 'smart' and able to provide the braking or power to keep the trailer from extending sideways in an accident scenario.

This includes trailers pulled by RV's, those 5th wheel trailers, etc. Everything.

Not only that it also includes the end of diesel powered refrigerated trailers for foods. Saving a ton of burning diesel fuel for that wasteful practice.

IN addition, most trailers that are enclosed will include full solar panels on the roof to help provide the power for those refrigerated units and to power the trailer wheels to assist the Semi truck--which will of course within 20 years will all be electric. Diesel is dead for Semi trucks soon. Same thing for trains. Trains can have solar power on the top of every enclosed train car.
niio
Why do you need the bike?