Last November, Mercedes showed off its futuristic Aero Trailer concept at a transport truck show in Belgium. While it certainly looked quite sleek and efficient, it certainly wasn’t as eye-popping as the full tractor/trailer combo that will be on display later this month in Germany. Known as Innotruck, the bizarre vehicle is part of Technische Universität München (Technical University Munich)’s Diesel Reloaded project, which “aims to demonstrate how paradigm shifts in automotive, energy, and information technologies can help to address major societal trends and needs.”

Innotruck is intended to serve as both a testbed and a demonstration vehicle for a number of emerging technologies. These include drive-by-wire operation, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications, and plug-and-play applications.

The electric vehicle also has displays and controls that can adapt to each driver’s capabilities, and to constantly-changing conditions such as traffic flow and driver alertness. This ensures that the driver will never be deluged with more information than they need for the task currently at hand, but will also automatically receive data as it is needed.

Energy management is another major focus of Innotruck. Described as a “micro smart grid,” the vehicle is able to manage the energy flow not only from its battery pack, but also from onboard solar cells, wind turbines and regenerative brakes. It even features electrical outlets along its sides, so other vehicles can recharge from it when it’s stopped, and so it can release energy into the municipal grid.

The truck’s distinctive looks come thanks to noted automotive designer Prof. Luigi Colani – it definitely bears at least a passing resemblance to the eleMMent recreational vehicle, which is based on one of his designs.

Innotruck can be seen at the MobiliTec international trade fair at the Hannover Messe, from April 23rd to 27th.

Source: Technische Universität München