Information on the vehicle concept

The concept

The autonomous, driverless, U-Shift electric vehicle concept enables a new type of modularity by separating the driving module from the transport capsule, thus creating new intermodality, new products and business models. The drive module can be used in combination with various capsule types to transport both passengers and goods. Examples of applications include autonomous, electromobile night delivery, autonomous intra-logistics and barrier-free passenger transport.

Impressions of the vehicle design



The autonomous drive module integrates all components and systems necessary for driving. In addition to the electrical drive, battery and automation components, the Driveboard has an integrated lifting system for easy and quick replacement of different types of capsules.  The capsules are changed ‘on-the-road’, i.e. during operation, to enable new transport and mobility services.
•    Autonomous (SAE5), flexible, standardisable
•    Electrical drive system
•    High utilisation factor (24/7) and quiet night operation


The capsules are equipped with only the most essential technical equipment and can therefore be produced cost-effectively.

  • Customised and flexible
  • Needs-based: A variety of capsules used in passenger transport (people mover, private capsule) and in commercial transport (delivery transport, service,   recyclable material capsule).
  • ‘Simple’, light and cost-effective



The automation is much more closely linked to the infrastructure than today's Cooperative Automated Driving (CAD) approaches. U-Shift takes automation to the next level – Managed Automated Driving (MAD) is a key element of this:
•    Protection via infrastructure sensors
•    Management via traffic control centre
•    Optimised use of road infrastructure

U-Shift premiere at the Strategy Dialogue of the Automotive Industry BW on 17th September, 2020

On 17.09.2020, U-Shift could be experienced "live" for the first time. The vehicle prototype built as part of the U-Shift project was presented at the digital interim balance conference.




Current project initiatives

  • U-Shift II - Development of a research carrier for the investigation of vehicle-specific U-Shift research question
  • MAD Urban - Concept development and demonstration of MAD - Managed Automated Driving
  • U-Shift 33 - Development and setup of a U-Shift driveboard for MAD


Completed projects

  •   U-Shift MAD - "Managed Automated Driving" study on the registration capability and economic viability of U-Shift
  •   ModECaP - Feasibility study on the U-Shift vehicle concept
  •   U-Shift I - (Mock-Up): Development of a 1:1 model
  •   U-Shift 33 – Development and construction of a U-Shift Driveboard for MAD



22.09.2023 - dlr.de

Economics Minister Hoffmeister-Kraut visits U-Shift research operation at BUGA

With the research operation of the novel vehicle concept U-Shift, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is testing and developing the urban mobility and logistics of tomorrow at the Federal Horticultural Show BUGA 23 in Mannheim. On 21 September 2023, the DLR team from the Institute of Vehicle Concepts welcomed Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut for an exciting insight into the project and an initial review of the research operation.

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Transport Minister Hermann visits U-Shift at the BUGA

With the U-Shift vehicle concept, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is testing the urban mobility of the future at the Federal Horticultural Show BUGA 23 in Mannheim. Winfried Hermann, Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Transport, did not miss this unique opportunity. He visited the DLR pavilion at the BUGA on 3 May 2023.     

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