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Old January 23rd, 2009, 11:47 PM   #181
apaoli
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Call it a sign of the times. Zagato, the Italian car design consultancy which helped style aerodynamic racing cars from Maserati, Ferarri and Aston Martin, has now designed a driver-less electric car whose top speed is a mere 40kph.

Come August, this futuristic vehicle will be used to transport students at the campus of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the first phase in building Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s carbon-free eco-city.
The collaboration of Zagato with eco-efficient transport firms from elsewhere in Italy and Holland highlights the growing importance of vehicles that use renewable energy technology. Urban transport planners in Abu Dhabi, the United Kingdom and the United States are realising that green is good, and are joining hands with the car industry to develop solutions.

The Zagato-designed podcar had been under wraps for months but was finally unveiled at the World Future Energy Summit. The conference is hosted by the state-backed Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), which has committed to spending billions of dirhams towards clean energy research.
At the show, Abu Dhabi also pledged to produce seven per cent of its electricity through renewable sources by 2020.

With all the pomp and pageantry expected of a summit featuring speakers such as Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander, the MIT president Dr Susan Hockfield, and Switzerland’s Minister of Energy, Environment and Communication, Moritz Leuenberger, the summit drew thousands of delegates from around the world, including General Motors, which exhibited its new hybrid sport-utility vehicle used as taxis in Dubai. But it was the podcar which stole the show.
Developed by 2getthere, a Dutch firm specialising in “automated people mover systems”, the podcar is an electric vehicle that will act as an automated taxi to serve pre-coordinated stops.

“It’s private public transit,” said Rein Kielstra, the project director of 2getthere’s podcar based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The Dutch firm has developed driverless, electric powered mini-buses in the same fashion, called group rapid transit, and also built more than 300 automated lorries working at Rotterdam port.
The basic construction of the 2getthere podcar was quite conventional. The vehicles run on rubber tyres and have a basic chassis. The model 2getthere showed at the Summit was a “VIP” model with leather seats instead of a more conventional fabric. There was enough room to seat four comfortably, or six if necessary, on two rows of seats facing each other.

For power, the cars will be charged by lithium-ion batteries, produced in China. The batteries are expected to power more than three hours of drive time before needing to be recharged for an hour.
“Odometry” is the concept behind the vehicle’s navigation system. The personal rapid transit (PRT) car will count the number of wheel revolutions and note the angle of the wheel to calculate its position. Passengers need only punch in the destination desired on a console inside the cabin, and the car will do the rest.

Magnets, implanted in the surface of the dedicated roads for the PRT, will also play a major role by acting as markers to keep the cars on path.
And to avoid collisions – the car will travel at 40kph along straight paths, and 25kph when turning – sensors in the front of the cars will help it slow down or stop if it detects anything as far as 10 metres ahead.

In fact, the lack of drivers is a boon both to safety and the bottom line, planners say. It is unknown how much the service will cost commuters, but the service would have been much more expensive had drivers been required. In addition, automated systems have also proven to cause far fewer accidents, Mr Kiestra added.
podcasts
Total Recall (1990)
Arnold Schwarzenegger climbs into a Johnny Cab, an electrically-powered taxi driven by a robot, to evade some chasing criminals.

Sleeper (1973)
Woody Allen goes into hospital in 1973 and wakes up two centuries later. In this neurotic view of the future, people move around in strange little bubble cars.

Bee Movie (2007)
Barry Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) is just “an ordinary bee” from New York, who is employed by Honex, which shifts its workers around the hive on quirky transporters.

Minority Report (2002)
Tom Cruise, the film’s star, evades the chasing authorities while travelling on vertical motorways and hopping
between transport pods.

Blade Runner (1982)
Arguably the film that defined a generation’s vision of urban hell. It features dark, claustrophobic metropolitan landscapes and vehicles whizzing through densely packed streets.
The evolution of the podcar, leading up to the Zagato-designed podcar for Masdar City, began nearly 40 years ago. West Virginia University introduced a driverless, group rapid transit bus system in the 1970s. But the complexity of the technology proved very expensive. It was only a few years ago that new plan for systems in other parts of the globe began in earnest.

“The information technology now is right,” said Luca Guala, the area manager of Systematica of Italy, which is consulting with Masdar for the PRT systems traffic engineering. “All the bits and pieces are there. Now all it takes is someone willing to build a system and make it run.”
A new PRT system is proposed to serve the college town of Ithaca, New York, while London’s Heathrow Airport is expected to complete its podcar service linking parking garages with the new Terminal 5 this year.

Masdar planners considered a group system such as with 2getthere’s bus in Holland, and the system in West Virginia. But they discarded the proposal when they discovered the energy-inefficiency of running a scheduled service during off-peak hours. With the cybercab, the cars will only run when needed.
The personal vehicle is being envisaged as one transport solution among many to service Masdar City, which plans to create its own electricity through various solar power technologies as well as wind turbines. Sustainability is a key aspect of the eco-city, and even the surfaces upon which the PRT system will travel is being scrutinized. (Asphalt is made from fossil fuels.)

When the city is fully built, it will have a population of some 40,000 residents, with 50,000 additional people working there and commuting in from surrounding areas.
Once inside the confines of the city, these 90,000 will have no access to their beloved cars. Walking, biking and two-wheeled Segways will be popular modes of travel, while a light rail system snaking through the city will help them get around and to central Abu Dhabi, some 20km away.

In addition, anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 PRT vehicles could be used eventually, including modified podcars to carry freight, according to Christopher Novack, the transportation programme manager at Masdar and CH2M HILL, the engineering company in charge of managing Masdar City. When the city is fully built, there could be up to 100 PRT destinations throughout the carbon-free city.
To begin with, however, Masdar ordered 13 of the “cybercabs”, as some call them, during the testing phase.

Ten PRT cars and three automated freight vehicles will be used to service the needs of the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology (MIST), which starts classes in August.

The cars, which will cater to some 100 students and 20 faculty members, will have two stops, approximately 150 m apart, at the parking garage and at the doorsteps of MIST. The freight cars will be able to carry a cargo up to 1,500 kilograms.
The prices of these driverless systems are affordable, get2there officials say. Since the cars are custom-made for Masdar, the first models will come with a high cost per unit. But when they gear up for mass production, they could cost roughly $40,000 (Dh146,800) apiece.

The system is custom made for Masdar, and a team of engineers and planners will monitor how the podcars perform during peak and off-peak hours, Mr Novack said. “We will be looking at the results daily,” he said.

“It’s important to learn how the intricacies of each of the technologies work.” If the system works, it could be used in other parts of the city. Abu Dhabi’s Plan 2030 highlights Lulu Island and the Capital District as potential zones for additional PRT cars.
The eco-city’s planners say they have high hopes the PRT system could act as a catalyst to spur other city planners to follow suit.

“What Masdar is all about is getting the renewable energy technology and the scientists and researchers to come to Masdar City and become leaders in renewable energy,” Mr Novack said. “We expect it to explode.”

The brimming optimism surrounding Masdar seem a lifetime away from enviro-documentaries produced in the past few years, such as Who Killed the Electric Car?, produced in 2006.

American filmmaker Chris Paine narrated the demise of GM’s ill-fated EV1 electric vehicle in that cult classic. But in only three years – helped no doubt by record fuel prices – the tide seems to be turning.
Mr Paine, in fact, reportedly plans to release a sequel next year entitled Revenge of the Electric Car that draws on a renaissance of interest in electric and hybrid products from Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive and GM. Future documentary makers may be asking instead, what happened to the gas-guzzling SUV.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 08:33 PM   #182
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apaoli, thanks for the update. Does this mean that ATS has lost the contract to supply the ULTra electric podcar to Masdar City?

Do you have a picture of 2getthere's automated freight vehicle which you could attach to this thread?
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Old January 25th, 2009, 12:19 PM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorne View Post


apaoli, thanks for the update. Does this mean that ATS has lost the contract to supply the ULTra electric podcar to Masdar City?

Do you have a picture of 2getthere's automated freight vehicle which you could attach to this thread?
I'm sorry untill now I don't have any information
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Old January 25th, 2009, 09:27 PM   #184
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damn,
its the future.
haha
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:59 PM   #185
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Abu Dhabi has released detailed proposals for a low-carbon public transport network under its Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.

The plans, reviewed by Construction Week, include a metro system, regional rail, a comprehensive tram network, a ferry link to Dubai, and three zones of personal rapid transit.

UK-based transport and engineering consultancies Steer Davies Gleave and Mott MacDonald released the plans as part of a Surface Transport Master Plan (STMP), which the firms were jointly commissioned to produce in February 2008.

“This project will consist of short- and medium-term plans to transform Abu Dhabi’s transport into a world-class system,” said Steer Davies Gleave technical director Luis Willumsen.

As a result of the plans, the Department of Transport (DoT) said on Tuesday it has invited firms to submit tenders to act as consultants on a feasibility study and design of the metro network.

Proposals must be submitted to the DoT by April 13. Bidders are required to register with the Abu Dhabi DoT.

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According to reports, the scope of the consultancy work includes the feasibility study, preliminary engineering, tender document preparation, award and formalisation for construction contracts, design review and administration of contracts during execution, defects liability, and maintenance and contract closure.

Steer Davies Gleave head of Middle East Martin Tillman told CW that the STMP final report, originally due this month, would be released in March.

“You can see the scale of the route that’s being planned and it highlights the route network,” Tillman said.

According to the STMP proposals, the metro line will run from Abu Dhabi International Airport, through Yas Island and Saadiyat Island, into Abu Dhabi City Centre.

Lines also pass through the Capital City, Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Mafraq, New Wathba, Al Falah and Masdar City developments, all of which are proposed or under construction.

The plans include 53 metro stations, three of which are based along an alternative route through Yas Island, along with regional rail links to Dubai, Al Ain and Madinat Zayed, with a possible rail link to Qatar.

The three areas proposed to be covered by personal rapid transit – a network of small vehicles that run non-stop on specially built guideways – are Masdar City, Capital City and Lulu Island.

The STMP itself falls under Plan Abu Dhabi 2030: Urban Structure Framework Plan, released in September 2007, which is intended to provide a clear direction of growth for Abu Dhabi City.

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Old February 19th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #186
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Progress at Heathrow


Rapid progress continues at Heathrow's pilot ULTra Personal Rapid Transit system. The guideway phase of construction is coming to end and we prepare for the system’s software integration. A state of the art CCTV camera system is being deployed along the whole of its 4.3-km route. Additionally, the Automatic Vehicle Protection (AVP) system has been installed in the guideway. This safety system provides a fail-safe environment for operating multiple vehicles, similar to practices in the rail industry.

The construction of the stations continue, including the installation of the vehicle-charging equipment. This allows vehicles to recharge their batteries whenever docked at a berth. Additionally, the vehicle storage and maintenance depot has been built and work commences on the internal fit-out.

February will see good project progress with the continuation of systems installation and work within the depot and station areas.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 03:57 AM   #187
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I'm really skeptic about the idea this could become an alternative to MASS transit one day. It's just too small, not enough capacity.

I assume the loading system would be very similar to a gondola lift. And a gondola lift can hardly have a capacity above 2,000 people per hour.

I think that stuff can work well in a theme park. I'm even skeptic about an airport. What would be the point to spend so much money if finally it turns out you lose 30 minutes between two airport terminals in waiting for your turn to get in?
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:57 AM   #188
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We already have well-developed PRT systems in most cities in the world.

They're called Automobiles.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 09:31 AM   #189
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Here, with PRT, we are in the process of car-sharing.
Already exists with current autimobiles in some cities (Brussels, ...) http://www.carsharing.be/
But a network for PRT is also thinkable in brand-new cities or brand new areas. Harder to implement in older cities without big expenses and troubles...
(Jams, urbanism, money,...)
The thing is that we have to think about convenience, ecology and economics of course...
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:44 PM   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
We already have well-developed PRT systems in most cities in the world.

They're called Automobiles.

LOL
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:51 AM   #191
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Amazing pictures on the first page,

I find this thread WAY better than the PRT thread on the Infrastructure & Mobility page. Congrats, I'll be returning here to discuss this with everyone.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:59 AM   #192
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The Surface Transport Master Plan isn't available at the website anymore
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:21 AM   #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davsot View Post
Amazing pictures on the first page,

I find this thread WAY better than the PRT thread on the Infrastructure & Mobility page. Congrats, I'll be returning here to discuss this with everyone.
it is better!
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:28 PM   #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
We already have well-developed PRT systems in most cities in the world.

They're called Automobiles.
There actually may be a lot of truth to this in the future. Cars may evolve to be battery-powered. GPS systems that provide driving directions are already common. Sensor systems that determine the proximity of the vehicle behind you when backing into a parking place are also becoming common. Lexus offers a car that will parallel park itself. DARPA has run a series of contests for vehicles that can navigate themselves around obstacle courses. Within a few decades, we may have battery-powered automobiles that drive themselves. The basic features of PRT will be available in the family car.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:50 PM   #195
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Galileo Satellites Network (European GPS) will provide precision of less than 1m on request (extra cost). Combined with some other functions, we could imagine driving without driver I guess would require an excellent processor. But until now, the best superprocessor we know is the human brain...
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Old February 24th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #196
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the main difference i see between the "ULTra" prt and this new "Automobile-RT" is parking.
the UlTra needs very little parking space, as it is public, and therefor shared (public-private-rapid-transport? confusing!).

on the other hand ULTra isn't fast as cars, so it won't be used as intercity. or interstate.
and the "Automobile-RT" doesn't require as much infrastructure.

one problem with "Automobile-RT" is that until everyone moves to new vehicles, people and machines will have to use the same road. thats bound to be more complicated than we expect. mind you i still see 25 year old cars on the streets pretty often.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 04:12 AM   #197
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I guess the only difference between cars and ULTRA is that cars depend on fossil fuels. Also, road infrastructure tends to deteriorate (as all infrastructure) if a watchful eye is not kept aka potholes. And say someone has gotten so old the can't drive anymore. ULTRA would facilitate them.

It's for the greater good lol
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Old February 24th, 2009, 04:18 AM   #198
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although I couldn't get on the website, I found this. Most I could do...

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Old February 25th, 2009, 03:01 AM   #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ro-E View Post
the main difference i see between the "ULTra" prt and this new "Automobile-RT" is parking.
the UlTra needs very little parking space, as it is public, and therefor shared (public-private-rapid-transport? confusing!).

on the other hand ULTra isn't fast as cars, so it won't be used as intercity. or interstate.
and the "Automobile-RT" doesn't require as much infrastructure.

one problem with "Automobile-RT" is that until everyone moves to new vehicles, people and machines will have to use the same road. thats bound to be more complicated than we expect. mind you i still see 25 year old cars on the streets pretty often.
Its kind of ridiculous when people say you can use PRT as intercity transport, considering the main point of it is theres no intermediate stations, and intercity rail has very few stops anway. imagine how innefecient it would be to send everyone city to city in PRT pods rather than all in one TGV at 220 mph.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 10:29 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by london24/7 View Post
Its kind of ridiculous when people say you can use PRT as intercity transport, considering the main point of it is theres no intermediate stations, and intercity rail has very few stops anway. imagine how innefecient it would be to send everyone city to city in PRT pods rather than all in one TGV at 220 mph.
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on the other hand ULTra isn't fast as cars, so it won't be used as intercity. or interstate.
and the "Automobile-RT" doesn't require as much infrastructure.
im sorry, did you actually read what i wrote before quoting me?

PRT shouldn't, couldn't & wouldn't serve intercity.
i can't believe I've quoted myself...thats just wrong

BTW, i'm all in for TGV. it rocks.
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