Seal of Excellence for KURT

Altreonic received the seal of excellence from the European Commission for its SME-II project proposal under the title “Sustainable electric mobility for urban environments by deploying a novel and disruptive e-vehicle system for city logistics and people transport”.

This means that Altreonic passed all stringent Horizon 2020 assessment thresholds for all award criteria: excellence, impact, quality and efficiency of implementation. The very positive evaluation by independent international experts is a very positive encouragement for our efforts over the last 3 years to develop KURT as a modular and scalable electric vehicle platform. Uniquely versatile, it might well be an enabler for urban electro-mobility, indoors as well as outdoors, to take off.

KURT meets Tesla: enabling urban electro-mobility

The breakthrough

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.

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Steer by Web for KURT

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.

KURT is a breakthrough for Light E-Vehicles

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).

City Car Summit. Berlin 15-16 March 2016

Altreonic presented its KURT e-vehicle for urban mobility at the City Car Summit in Berlin. The KURT concept is an enabling solution for urban mobility by its modular and scalable design. It takes into account many of the issues with existing electric vehicles by a radical design concept that takes the benefits offered by electric propulsion into account from the very beginning. The result is an astonishing new type of Light Electric Vehicle that covers multiple classes in the L category. More information on the City Car Summit 2016 website.  See Altreonic’s presentation here.

Remote monitoring and fleet management for KURT

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.