Hyundai’s e-Bogie Is a Funky Fuel Cell Trailer Drone for Shipping Cargo
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Self-driving cars are starting to become a reality. More automakers are offering hands-free driving features in passenger vehicles, but Hyundai has a plan that goes beyond that.
Hyundai just introduced the innovative e-Bogie. This state-of-the-art “shipping robot” is becoming the face of Hyundai’s hydrogen power development project, according to CNET. Fueled by hydrogen fuel cells, these drones are looking to make cargo shipping safer and greener. The Hyundai e-Bogie is an autonomous shipping robot.
Hyundai’s vision for self-driving cargo trucks
The e-Bogie, named after the two-axel subframes that support the ends of a train car, is a self-driving electric chassis that can haul goods and cargo. It gets rid of many traditional truck features.
The e-Bogie is about the size of a small SUV. It offers four-wheel independent steering that allows the vehicle to turn in place and makes it easy to maneuver. This will help it navigate tight spaces and roundabouts. The low-profile design lets it carry a small shipping container or other cargo.
Hyundai aims to use the e-Bogie technology to fully replace diesel and gas-powered semis and big rig cargo haulers. Taking those gas-guzzlers out of circulation and eliminating their emissions would be a significant advancement for eco-friendly transportation.
The versatile e-Bogies can transform into a Trailer Drone
Hyundai gave the e-Bogie serious versatility by creating the Trailer Drone, which uses two e-Bogies to carry a full-size semi trailer.
Each e-Bogie can work together in something Hyundai calls Cluster Mode. This allows the two bots in a Trailer Drone to move independently at either end to maneuver the trailer. The shipping container also unloads itself by deploying legs to free the e-Bogies underneath.
Sensors are installed on the e-Bogies and trailer to help navigate highway travel. These drones will be able to cluster together to improve aerodynamics and efficiency for long trips. The Trailer Drone is expected to deliver an impressive 621 miles per H2 fuel-up.
Could the e-Bogie go beyond shipping?
Outside of hauling cargo, Hyundai believes the e-Bogie could be useful for disaster relief and rescue. Since no in-person operator is required, the e-Bogie could safely drive through dangerous or unstable landscapes where assistance is needed. Firefighters and injured people in hard-to-reach areas could be located and helped using the bots’ aerial drone, stored and charged atop of the e-Bogie.
The e-Bogie’s storage compartments could hold first-aid supplies, food and water, or other necessary resources. You can even fit a pair of stretchers for evacuating people between the drone’s wheels.
There’s no concrete date for when the e-Bogie will be in mass production. But Hyundai is making it clear that they intend to capitalize on hydrogen-based power—an interest their home country of South Korea shares.
However, if ideas like the Rescue Drone are any indication, there’s a lot of potential for zero-emission vehicles across industries. If testing is successful, more automakers will see fuel cell technology as a viable option for transportation.