Designed as a one-person means of transit for covering short distances within an operating facility, the Personal Mover Concept seems like a welcome addition for BMW manufacturing employees, some of whom walk up to seven miles a day during the course of their shift. Conceived and built completely in-house by engineers at the BMW Group Research and Technology House in Garching, along with staff from the central after sales logistics network in Dingolfing, the new personal-mobility platform can sustain speeds of up to 15 mph. The fully integrated unit can also be charged from a simple household outlet, and retains enough onboard juice to travel between twelve and eighteen miles before needing a recharge.
If the underlying idea seems old-hat, that’s because various others have suggested similar things in the past; the problem of efficiently shuttling workers in and around a facility first presented itself during the industrial revolution when sprawling sites and campuses began to arise. In the century since, society has witnessed radical growth in terms of technology and how it has integrated into our every day lives, but today most of us are still plodding along when we need to visit another department.
Not that there’s anything wrong with getting the exercise, but when it comes to the scale of modern manufacturing operations for an industry-leading automaker like BMW, and the distances that manufacturing or logistics-operations employees are walking, the opportunity suddenly seems more apparent. Compounding the situation is the need to occasionally carry heavy objects, which new Personal Mover Concept seems perfectly qualified to handle.
Weighing 44 pounds, the rolling platform boasts a four-foot turning radius—ideal for production and shipping facilities—and uses 3D-printed materials for the bumpers, along with the mounts for the handlebars and basket. The main platform measures 24 by 31 inches and rides atop four wheels, with the fronts castering 360° for increased maneuverability. The handlebar and its support contain the entire electrical system, while there are LED DRLs up front and a pair of red lights mounted on the rear. While it is capable of moving at speeds of up to 15 mph, factory versions are limited to half that, and can come fitted in a variety of different configurations depending on intended use.
Rather than having to dodge people whizzing by you on those electric Bird scooters which seem to be plaguing cities across the nation, the Personal Mover Concept may also solve the issue of mobility at places like large international airports with multiple, far-flung terminals. The potential for use at places like exhibition halls, logistics centers, and all sort of other imposing structures like big shopping centers is also real, and has been mentioned as a possible area of exploration by BMW.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy of BMW Group.]