Feeds

Dutch astronaut unleashes 155 mph 'Superbus'

Radical electric stretch limo concept

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A Dutch former astronaut is hoping the future of public transport could be a 250 km/h (155 mph) "Superbus" - a 23-seater electric beast stretching an impressive 15 metres (49 ft).

Wubbo Ockels, who flew as a mission specialist on Challenger's STS-61A mission back in 1985, has worked with a design team from the TU Delft University to create the "new concept for sustainable mobility".

According to chief designer Antonia Terzi, former chief aerodynamicist of the BMW-Williams Formula 1 team, the carbon fibre vehicle will "tackle the challenges of mobility, spatial planning, service detail and environmental demands all in one".

Superbus packs lithium polymer battery-powered electric motors producing 530bhp, although it will need a dedicated road system to make use of all that power.

The Dutch have already examined the possibility of linking Amsterdam and Groningen with such a highway, and the designers are eyeing the United Arab Emirates as the first customer outside Europe.

The first Superbus prototype is set to strut its stuff at the Dubai National Exhibition and Convention Centre this weekend, ahead of government tests to see if a proposed plan to whisk passengers between Abu Dhabi and Dubai has legs.

View of the Superbus with its doors open.Pic: Superbus

While Superbus is designed to be light on the planet, it's heavy on technology. It boasts "navigation system, obstacle detection, communication system, fail safe system and control system", plus all the "seat belts, airbags, TV, internet, air-conditioning, heating, etc" you'd expect from an electric stretch limo.

If it does one day hit the streets, passengers will be able to call for a taxi-style pick-up without leaving the comfort of their own home. Terzi explained: "Superbus will have an intelligent routing system rather than a fixed schedule. Commuters will book online or with their mobile phone, and the bus picks them up and drops them at their desired location."

This, the designers promise, will offer a luxury ride "for a fare which is comparable to the prices of present day's public transport". ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.