U-Shift II - Demonstrator

An "on-the-road" modular vehicle demonstrator consisting of a U-shaped driveboard for highly flexible capsule replacement and capsules for transporting people and goods

Environment [1]

In the coming years, the three technology trends of highly automated driving, electromobility and digitalization/connectivity will become increasingly integrated, with the result that they will reinforce and accelerate each other. These technologies are already being pursued internationally with great commitment and speed. Together with the diversification of mobility, they have the potential to permanently change the automotive business model.

New product solutions, business models and (service) offerings are also being sought in order to counteract the lower added value of electric vehicles compared to conventional vehicles and thus the potential threat to job security. On the one hand, more and more "disruptive" solutions are being sought that support the necessary change much better than evolutionary developments in small steps. On the other hand, shaping the transition from old to new is a key aspect of success. The "on-the-road" modular vehicle concept for people and goods meets these challenges.

Goals [1][3]

The central objective of the "U-Shift II - Demonstrator" project is to demonstrate the highly innovative concept of "on-the-road" vehicle modularization functionally for the first time in a closed-off area in order to then transfer the development to product maturity in a market launch if possible.
Based on the automotive state of Baden-Württemberg, the aim is to create a platform for new products and business models that goes beyond evolutionary approaches and thus supports the transformation of the state's economy.

Goals in detail:

  • Research and conceptual development of the necessary vehicle components
  • Research and conceptual development of the necessary infrastructure
  • Vehicle-side optimization of the technical interfaces (mechanical, electrical, software) and packaging
  • Development and implementation of the functional and E/E architecture on the vehicle and infrastructure side
    • Designing a service-oriented architecture for the modular vehicle
    • Distributed services in the driving module, in the capsule and in the infrastructure
    • Safety analyses of the innovative concept
  • Practical demonstration of the prototypical implementation of the vehicle and infrastructure concept and its functionalities with all relevant components
  • Demonstration of a mixed application of goods and passenger transportation in an enclosed space
  • Transparency and acceptance of the U-Shift concept (lighthouse) by integrating the public

Description of the project

The highly innovative vehicle concept consists of a U-shaped driving module, the so-called driveboard, and capsules that can be flexibly transported for various purposes. The main applications under consideration are passenger and freight transportation.
The consortium led by the German Aerospace Center presented the first drivable prototype at the interim balance sheet conference of the Baden-Württemberg Automotive Industry Strategy Dialogue in Stuttgart on September 17, 2020. The Driveboard is currently remote-controlled and is set to be fully automated in the future. [2]
The Institute of Information Processing Technology at KIT is contributing a new type of electrical/electronic architecture to the project, which is based on flexible distributed services [2].
In the U-Shift I project, various preliminary work was carried out to detail and realize the concept of the E/E architecture in U-Shift II.


Funding body

Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor and Housing Baden-Württemberg




  1. Overall project description U-Shift II
  2. KIT News, Innovative technology for sustainable autonomous driving
  3. Project website: https://verkehrsforschung.dlr.de/de/projekteu-shift/u-shift-ii-demonstrator