Germany Researches Platoon Power for Future Cars - The UpStream

Germany Researches Platoon Power for Future Cars

posted Sunday Mar 11, 2012 by Jon Wurm

Germany Researches Platoon Power for Future Cars

It's been about 67 years since Germany has actively explored platooning technology but the Robotics Innovation Center at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (Deutsches Forschungszentrum fur Kunstliche Intelligenz) brought it back to the present at CeBIT this year. Their EO prototype electric car showcased some interesting abilities and, despite its futuristic design, there didn't seem to be any futuristic weapons mounted on it just yet; so, for now, it seems we're safe.

The EO prototype is the product of only 10 months of work and is a ways away from traversing the Autobahn but it has demonstrated some pretty cool functionality. For example, the car is very versatile with regards to adjusting to its environment. Every driver finds themselves in common situations where space is limited and they are required to maneuver vehicles in awkward ways. Thankfully, the EO can shorten its wheelbase to perform tighter turns, something that would be useful for urban driving. It can also lower its center of gravity to make "high speed" driving more efficient. It's also well worth mentioning that it can rotate its wheels 90 degrees making parallel parking a cinch.

But wait, there's more! Platooning will help make sure that you never have to roam alone again, even if you book a vacation without using Travelosity. Find out more and check out a video after the break.

The EO prototype is the DFKI's first step toward what they see as a more efficient future for both cars and commuters. With the EO being the first prototype, we haven't seen this concept of platooning in action yet but at CES 2011 the guys at GM gave us a live demo of their EN-V vehicle which used platooning for navigational purposes. The EO will theoretically be able to share power with platooned vehicles, which is something the EN-V wasn't capable of but we'll see if DFKI can pull it off in the future.


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