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Hole in the floor

Cut a walk-way down a van
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Unloading a van can be an annoying chore, especially if its done repeatedly like a delivery driver. Climb up, walk down with your head at a peculiar angle, then drag or lift the item to the back, then jump down then pick up the item again.

Why not use a front wheel drive van, with independent rear suspension. Cut a walkway down the centre of the loading bay, this means you could walk at ground level through the back doors of the van, no climbing up into a space that is 6 inches shorted than you are.

Boards the width of the walkway that can either be lifted out (or pneumatically controlled flaps that split in half and fold down) once that area of the floor is cleared.

Admittedly the roof of the van and or the chassis would have to be made considerably stiffer, but the removable boards could be engineered to increase the rigidity when driving, yet are easy enough to remove and install wilst-sitting stationary.

Basically the van with the boards installed wound be identical to that of a normal van, but as the van is unloaded the boards are removed or swung down (only for unloading) up to the point where the clear floor ends, giving you direct access to the items to be delivered / removed.

baldross, Sep 17 2002

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       If I am picturing this correctly . . . You are proposing a van whose chassis is in the shape of a picklefork with the 'tines' of the fork pointing aft, yes?   

       If the walkway was sufficiently wide I wonder if there would be enough room leftover to accomodate the suspension.
bristolz, Sep 17 2002
  

       However ladder chassis have been around for a long time, and if the boards were some how structural, it should be ok to remove them when the van was stationary.
baldross, Sep 17 2002
  

       I'm with Nick@Nite here, seems like you really want a convertible van.
General Washington, Sep 17 2002
  

       Option 2: slide the floor of the van out for easy access. This exists in the form of a big sliding platform that bolts to the floor of the van and can be manually or electrically rolled out the back doors.   

       Maybe vans are smaller where you are? Mostly 'cube' vans here with lots of head room.
rbl, Sep 17 2002
  

       Just an idea, obvously not too popular.   

       Advantage overs a convertable van / pickup would be security and it would be weather proof.
baldross, Sep 17 2002
  

       While working at Ford, I attended a tech show that displayed some of the newest handicapped accessible technologies for vehicles. One van in particular had a heavily-modified floor in the back end; the floor was cut down into a ramp that was not much more than a few inches off the floor at the tailgate, and it was wheelchair-wide. I don't remember how they handled the rear drivetrain; it could've been a front-wheel drive minivan perhaps. Eliminated the need for a lift van. Wish I could find a link.
RayfordSteele, Sep 17 2002
  

       How about a robotic picker system where the robot grabs the required item and delivers it to the back (side, front, whatever) door? It's only money after all.
phoenix, Sep 17 2002
  

       We had a tercel wagon that had one of these once.   

       Dad fixed it when we got home.
rapid transit, May 24 2003
  
      
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