What Is It?
The Ford Carr-E is best described as a personal mobility device. It’s meant to carry a person from their city parking space to their final destination. It has a range of 14 miles, can handle 260 pounds and has a top speed of 11 mph.
It’s the brainchild of Kilian Vas, who is a systems engineer at Ford. He submitted his idea to the company’s Last Mile Mobility Challenge, which was set up specifically for employees. Vas was chosen as a finalist from out of 600 entries.
The Ford Carr-E is like a super-Roomba. It has ultrasonic obstacle sensors, GPS, lighting and a 4-wheel chassis. It can also transport heavy objects. Just place something on the device and it will follow whoever has the specific electronic transmitter.
Will They Ever Sell It?
Let’s look at where the Carr-E is coming from. An obvious alternative would be a Segway, which is still in production and makes its riders look like dorks. Or there’s that so-called "hoverboard" that tends to explode. It’s a gray area. There’s no reason why someone couldn’t take public transportation and then use the Carr-E for that stretch between the office and the station. But considering walking is free (once you’ve bought some socks and shoes), this is a bit of a hard sell.
Why It’s Important
For one thing, it gets employees interested, and something really inventive might come out of it. With the Carr-E, Ford is at least looking into different ways of moving people and things around. Cars and trucks can only take us so far.