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Ducktrain e-cargo bike
Ducktrains and droids not such a drag

The urgency of the climate crisis is pushing the evolution of cargo vehicles forward at an amazing rate, and cargo bike logistics are developing at a mind-boggling pace.

The latest is called the Ducktrain, looking something like the bike version of a semi-trailer. Or if you hitch two or more together you see something resembling a road train.

But the thing is... the trailers are not being dragged – they are self-powered.

The bike at the front is merely there to guide and control the load of freight behind it. The battery and the motors are in the Ducktrain.

The metre wide trailers are narrow enough to fit in a bike lane – but they can carry a 300kg load.

Special sensors in the drawbar detect the speed of the bike, the direction of turns, the gradients and acceleration. The trailer responds by accelerating, braking and turning accordingly.

Development is underway for what would be a “droid” version that can do away with the drawbar.

Then the trailers would use LiDAR and other communications technologies to track the lead bike, allowing up to five duck trailers to form a train, none of them physically joined to one another.

The Ducktrain comes from the German start-up firm DroidDrive and they say they will be on the market by late 2022.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.