Een artikel over het KURT concept werd opgenomen in Bits&Chips, nadien overgenomen door Mechatronica&Machinebouw. Voor de Nederlandstalige lezer biedt het een beknopt overzicht van de ontstaansgeschiedenis en het onderliggende modulaire en schaalbare platform. Ondertussen werd dit al uitgewerkt in meerdere versies gaande van een specifiek platform voor gebruik in ziekenhuizen, transport en mobiliteit in de binnenstad en zwaar logistiek transport op luchthavens.
Electric driving is the future. The concept is far from novel, but due to cheap oil and deficient batteries it was too early to convince the general public. That is about to change as mobility with traditional engines is reaching its limits. Batteries are increasingly becoming more powerful and affordable. Away with pollution, noise and traffic jams.
The ideal setting to launch electric driving is the city. Distances are shorter, the driving speed is limited and the call for a sustainable city, quiet, clean and spacious, is increasingly gaining momentum. Electric mobility makes that possible. The use of compact and silent vehicles opens up space for the pedestrian and cyclist. The only issue is its affordability, as electric vehicles are not produced yet in large numbers. Altreonic, a technological SME from Flanders/Belgium, has developed the solution. It offers a large and flexible variety of electric vehicles, named KURT. Based on a patented design for a modular and scalable vehicle, Altreonic is able to meet the needs of any application.
The key to success
Electric propulsions are compact by definition. Therefore, it does not make sense to integrate electric engines in traditional designs without changing the design itself. That is why Altreonic’s KURT vehicle was reinvented from scratch. The KURT vehicle is equipped with wheels that all have their own engine. As a result, there is more space for the batteries and suspension that are compactly stored in the supporting structure. Most of the weight is situated in the vehicle’s body, a low and flat platform. Each wheel can be controlled separately, which creates much more possibilities than currently exist with traditional internal combustion engines. The structure of KURT is not only modular but also scalable. The superstructure can be specifically adapted to a wide array of applications.
Bringing It All Together in the Smart City
Altreonic has published a new article on the Move Forward website. This is the 4th part of the series on applying packet switching for mobility. In this article, we bring it all together. Read the complete series of four articles in a single text.
Altreonic has demonstrated for the first time “steer by web” capability for its KURT vehicle. Using a camera input and a smartphone, the vehicle was remotely steered over internet using a web application. Even with the application server and the vehicle being widely apart (about 3000 km) and using a standard ADSL connection, the control was with minimal delay. This brings KURT in the domain of Internet of Things, enabling semi-autonomous driving for a fleet of KURT vehicles.
The KURT light-weight vehicle is completely modular and driven by a redundant software and hardware architecture. Internally, Altreonic’s VirtuosoNext network-centric RTOS is used to execute the distributed control strategy of 4 independent wheels each with their own motor. Further work will focus on increasing security and error resilience. For more information, contact Altreonic.
A modular and cost-efficient enabler for Urban Mobility
Since 3 years Altreonic NV is pursuing the development and market deployment of its light-weight KURT™ electric vehicle system (L6 category). Its disruptive and uniquely modular architecture (patent pending) was specifically designed for urban environments, out-doors as well as in-doors. Continue reading Altreonic unveils the KURT e-vehicle platform
Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx market research company : “Years ago I pointed out that the 100 or so manufacturers of car- like specialist electric vehicles should not design every one from scratch but have a common platform. They make no attempt to standardise. The industry is ridiculously fragmented. Altreonic’s KURT vehicle is one of the first that has the potential to overcome this uneconomic fragmentation”.
Dr. Bodo Schwieger from Team Red (an international consultancy firm on mobility and transport), stated in an interview: “Amongst the mobility solutions of 150 providers we evaluated, the modularity of the KURT concept is unique”.
(src: private communication April 2016).
Altreonic has released a first video clip showing off the capabilities of the KURT first laboratory prototype using pre-production components. More videos will follow after we have finished assembling first vehicles (in progress).
Developing the KURT vehicle has resulted also into a number of significant enhancements to Altreonic’s supporting tools. The KURT controller software runs on the VirtuosoNext RTOS. To enhance safety and security, all Tasks and memory regions are protected from each other, yet it runs on a modest ARM M-series controller with little memory. As VirtuosoNext is a distributed operating system, the application runs replicated on the four controlling nodes of the KURT self-propelled platform. The GoedelWorks platform is used to keep track of all engineering data in a traceable way. In line with the methodology, the KURT vehicle can also be remotely monitored through a smartphone or mini-tablet (that functions as driver’s vehicle dashboard).
This allows a central server to keep track of the vital vehicle parameters (battery, temperature, speed and location) in real-time. The vehicle operator can then use the data for e.g. fleet management, vehicle scheduling, preventive maintenance, trip management but also to detect abnormal situations like irresponsible driving. And last but not least, it provides a way to have two-way communication using text messages between the driver and the dispatching center.
With this development, VirtuosoNext has now a gateway to the IoT (internet of things) world with more developments providing support in this emerging domain, that is more limited by the imagination than by the state of the technology. GoedelWorks also sets a step forward as the remote monitoring database allows linking the engineering data with life-cycle data.