Automated, user orientated transport platform for urban areas

On foot, by bicycle or with public transport, many routes can be covered comfortably in cities. If however, large or heavy goods need to be transported, for example after grocery shopping, even in cities the car often appears to be the only suitable mean of transport.

Within the project UrbANT, whose acronym describes the development of an urban, automated, user orientated (German: nutzerorientiert) transport platform, the Institute for Automotive Engineering as overall project leader, together with nine project partners, is designing an electrically driven micro-mobile that is to represent an alternative to the car in city centers. On the one hand, it will allow pedestrians to transport large and heavy goods safely and comfortably while interacting with and automatically following the user in a safe, reliable and intuitive way. On the other hand, UrbANT will move autonomously to move independently to the next job or act as an autonomous delivery system on the last mile. In order to meet the needs of as many urban applications as possible, three different set-ups are being developed, which are specially tailored to the requirements of transporting shopping and food, bulky goods, and parcels and courier shipments.

[Rendering: UrbANT Aufbauten]

The involvement of potential users already in the early phase of the project makes it possible to identify wishes and needs with regard to the new mobility concept in urban scenarios. The results, which have been collected in workshops in Aachen, Berlin and Munich and concern, for example, the use in non-barrier-free areas, form the basis for the vehicle design and thus shape the direction of further development. Iterative user studies in the further course of the project will also enable the validation of interim results from the fields of ergonomics, automation and user interaction.

All in all, UrbANT will be a short-distance transport system that can travel on sidewalks at up to 6 km/h, can be used in non-barrier-free environments, follows its users and drives autonomously, interacting with them as well as with passers-by. With three different set-up variants for food, bulky goods and CEP consignments, goods of up to 60 kg can be transported emission-free in the city without the need for a car.

In addition to the overall project management, the Institute for Automotive Engineering is responsible for the development of the driving platform with drive, chassis and structure as well as the parcel station design and the overall vehicle design of all superstructures. Furthermore, the ika develops the interaction system for the users in the form of the vehicle HMI and the smartphone apps and carries out the iterative user studies with primary and secondary users as well as the final field test.

2021 11 22 UrbANT Skizzen

The project on which this report is based was supported from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the funding code 16SV7919. The author is responsible for the content of this publication.



Dr.-Ing. Dinesh Thirunavukkarasu
Manager Research Area
Vehicle Concepts & HMI
+49 241 80 25699

Project duration

12/2017 – 05/2022

Project partner

ika (overall project management), Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen, BE-Power, Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung, easy2cool, Ford, Institut für Unternehmenskybernetik, Lehrstuhl für Technik und Individuum der RWTH Aachen University, Innovationsmanufaktur, neomesh

Project website


Supported by

[Logo: BM Bildung und Forschung]Sonstiges (s1)
The project on which this report is based was supported from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the funding code 16SV7919. The author is responsible for the content of this publication.


Institute for Automotive Engineering
RWTH Aachen University
Steinbachstraße 7
52074 Aachen · Germany

+49 241 80 25600

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