Ford Engineer Develops Spare Tire Robot

Mobility solutions top employee ideas in annual Ford Motor Company competition.

The Carr-E robot was developed as a personal mobility solution. (Image courtesy of Ford.)

The Carr-E robot was developed as a personal mobility solution. (Image courtesy of Ford.)

Every year, the Ford Motor Company encourages its employees to submit innovative ideas that could change the world. Some reach this lofty goal, while others are merely entertaining.

One of the top ideas out of Germany for 2016 is the Carr-E, a spare-tire-sized personal mobility solution designed for the “last mile” – from your car to the office door, for example.

Designed by Kilian Vas, a Ford systems engineer, the Carr-E can transport people or objects up to 120 kg, with a range of 22 kilometres (14 miles) and a top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph). It can be used to transport heavy items, as the device will follow an electronic transmitter the user can carry with them.

This wasn’t the only mobility solution imagined this year, with other finalists emerging from the 633 entrants in the category.

Other entrants included the TriCiti, a ridable device that can be adapted to carry items or folded down to ride on public transport or stored in a vehicle. The TriCiti has a range of 30 kilometres (19 miles) and a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph).

Another invention, the eChair, is a lightweight electric wheelchair able to load itself into a car, designed to offer greater independence to people with reduced mobility.

“We really need to reinvent the wheel, to find new approaches to mobility,” said Vas.

“When developing the Carr-E, I was inspired by Ford’s expansion into both an auto and a mobility company, but I’m also aware of how rapidly cities are growing and how getting around urban areas will become progressively more complicated. I really wanted to create a device that makes commuting easier and more fun.”

Breakdown of the Carr-E. (Image courtesy of Ford.)

Breakdown of the Carr-E. (Image courtesy of Ford.)

Ford received numerous employee submissions in 2016, and is expecting to break the company record from 2015 of 6,000. Many of the submissions come from engineers throughout the company’s worldwide employee base.

“Innovation and disruption is as much at the heart of how our engineers think now, as it was when Henry Ford first set about transforming the way we move,” said Walter Pijls, supervisor, Innovation Management for Mobility, Ford of Europe.

“Personal assistant devices can help people to cover the final kilometres of their journey quickly and easily, and to transport heavy objects they might not be able to carry.”

Mobility solutions are at the top of many people’s lists, but are not the only ideas being submitted. For more information visit Ford’s news page featuring of a few others, and visit the Ideas submission page.