Meet Citybot: A Modular Bot That Can Collect Trash, Handle Baggage at Airports, and More

Heather Miller June 3, 2022 1 min read

Imagine one mobile “pod” that can do it all. That’s what EDAG Engineering is aiming to achieve with CityBot. CityBot is an autonomous, modular bot with various attachments. It can transform to suit many needs and perform a variety of tasks — think collecting trash on city streets, acting as a forklift in warehouses, transporting passengers as a minibus, and even handling baggage at the airport. And that’s just the start.

Closing the Loop

With the help of Autodesk Global Consultancy, EDAG embarked on an innovative “closed-loop engineering” process for the design and development of CityBot. This new approach captures live usage data for continuous product development.

“Closed-loop engineering is the idea of permanently optimizing parts using feedback,” says Johannes Barckmann, Global Design Manager, EDAG Engineering. “With all the sensors embedded in our parts, we know precisely if the part is stressed, which parts need to be improved, lighter or stronger for each function.”

Designing Optimum Parts with Generative Design

It’s one thing to have all the usage data—but how can you use it effectively and make an impact on the design and parts? Generative design in Autodesk Fusion 360 is a core component of the closed-loop model by calculating the optimum part design quickly, saving time, and producing lighter, more sustainable parts.

“Having real usage data means our engineers can calculate the specific requirements for, for example, the wheel mount,” says Sebastian Flügel, Project Leader at EDAG Group. “The big change [from the old process] is that generative design creates the geometry automatically, and with Fusion 360 we can automatically recalculate these products, and we can create new solutions based on the changed conditions.”

According to Flügel, closed-loop engineering and generative design are turning points. “Like living creatures in nature, technical products can now also continuously develop further — a technical evolution is achieved,” he says.

The Future of Mobility

CityBot raises questions about the current state of mobility. It could one day be a disruptive force in applications like material handling and civic transport. Why do cities, for example, need many types of costly vehicles when a single optimized bot design can do a different job each day?

Learn more about EDAG’s journey with closed-loop engineering and generative design here.

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