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The 300 km/h Superbus

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the take-your-super-seat dept.

Transportation 180

pigrabbitbear writes "Have you heard of the Superbus? You could have already, as it has been in prototype production for years, and has recently been gaining more attention at auto shows and through public demonstrations. Like a stretch Batmobile that seems yet another triumph for Saudi and Emirate auto enthusiasts, passengers and their entourages enter the car under a row of gull-wings. The bus runs on batteries, and it can fly along at nearly 300 km/h (or 192 mph), and quite 'silently.'"

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180 comments

It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (5, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#40595269)

First of all, the "thing" at the web site referenced is not a bus, itâ(TM)s a stretch limo. For example, the article goes on to say "The bus, which is better described as a sex-oozing cigarette-car..." Itâ(TM)s not a bus.

Secondly, yes, I like the idea of a 200 MPH bus. As long as it is mechanically fixed in some way to a dedicated road â" maybe with something like a continuous piece of metal to guide it and prevent it from careening into space...

Lastly, what's with the link to some advert-laden page-view magnet, instead of a direct link to the website of the project in question? Does Slashdot employ editors anymore? Did they ever?

Here it is: http://www.superbusproject.com/ [superbusproject.com]

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (5, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#40595381)

As long as you're using a continuous piece of metal to keep it on the road, you could energize that metal and eliminate the need for batteries.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (2, Insightful)

AMDinator (996330) | about 2 years ago | (#40595455)

At that point, you might as well just build a train.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (5, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40595469)

One that makes a "Whoooosh!" sound would be preferable, I think.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595949)

But that whoosh has to be "silent."

god the 70's had some AWFUL movies (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#40595975)

If it's not atomic powered and can change tires automatically, I'm not riding in that deathtrap!

Re:god the 70's had some AWFUL movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40596329)

Stopped by for this reference. Leaving happy.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (5, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#40595481)

And TFS also says it runs super-silent. So you'd have to give it an artifical noise, to warn passers-by that it's approaching. Like, I dunno, "Choo-choo!" or similar.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40595569)

So you'd have to give it an artifical noise, to warn passers-by that it's approaching. Like, I dunno, "Choo-choo!" or similar.

Thomas the tank engine theme song?

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (3, Funny)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 2 years ago | (#40596021)

They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight,
Shunting trucks and hauling freight!
Red and green and brown and blue,
They're the really useful crew!

Why, yes, I DO have a 3 year old! Why do you ask?

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (1)

king_grumpy (1685560) | about 2 years ago | (#40596289)

Current hybrid cars have scared me half to death on my daily cycle to work - imagine a freaking sex oozing cigarette car passing by going CHOOOCHOOOOO.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#40595421)

>dedicated road

Yes. That would fly.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#40596003)

>dedicated road

Yes. That would fly.

Quite a hazard to aircraft, though I'm puzzled as to why it would be a necessary requirement.

Strat

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40595577)

I am not sure a Super-Bus will solve our Mass Transpiration needs. I find the issue isn't as much about the Top Speed of the Bus. But the logistics of getting enough people to fill it up, and Drop them off in the right spots.

Having a rail line, or a bus lane, only helps in particular areas.
For Americans we are often much too spread out for good mass transit. Getting from Point A to Point B will take 3 hours. For 10 miles... It is actually faster to Bike, then to take the bus. Unless you are in NYC or Boston. Where you can take the Subway or the T... Then Mass transit makes more sense.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#40595935)

It is actually faster to Bike, then to take the bus. Unless you are in NYC or Boston.

In NYC, a Big Wheel [mydamnchannel.com] beats the bus. That's not a fluke, either; I've beaten the M14 just walking.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (3, Insightful)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 2 years ago | (#40596017)

If you build the rail, people will live there. The only reason people live by highways is because ... the highway was put there to attract residential development.

Raleigh is currently suffering major growing pains, and unfortunately the state has chosen to build a highway through farmlands to house everyone... yeah, I definitely want to live 40 miles from RTP in the middle of nowhere and commute with $5/gal gas looming on the horizon... no, building a light rail system and encouraging people to live in the Raleigh/Durham corridor is a waste of money I tell you.

Where there is rail, people will use it. See NYC (commuting into NYC from Long Island is a breeze on the train, effectively impossible by car, and that's a good thing), Boston, DC, etc. DC to a lesser extent because the Metro hasn't expanded into areas where people live, but MARC is tolerable if you only need to go into the city in the morning and back out in the evening.

The whole "we're too spread out" argument is perfectly valid in the midwest though... and luckily most of our population exists hugging the coast lines. So... highways for the midwesterners, rail for the rest of us! Unfortunately, U.S. central policy is obsessed with "one solution for every part of our geographically diverse land" for whatever reason.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40596273)

You're doing it wrong. Instead of trying to graft a mass transport system on to a city you need to make new destinations that mass transport can take you to. In Japan the rail companies build big stations in new places, complete with attached shopping centre, and it becomes a destination in itself. That then helps relieve congestion in other areas too.

Ideally you want to design around transport, but since we have big cities that need to be dealt with this is a good option for re-engineering them.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595609)

Wait a minute, guide rails? You don't trust the average transit authority driver to do the right thing with a vehicle that only does 186MP/h? You don't think that Shawniqua and Jethro can handle it you biased jerk?

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595621)

If you're traversing large open spaces, such as distances between cities in a desert, your concerns aren't an issue.

In fact, the entire reason this is feasible is because of the environment it is clearly intended for. The cost of building rail infrastructure is even cited by the designer in the video as a reason why this is being made.

Did you not even watch?

Goddamn self centered westerners can't even conceive of anything but what is around them.

"DERP, we use rail, so that means anything else is dumb because I am smarter than a team of engineers who clearly got lots of big investors in this project."

That's you. That is what you sound like.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595681)

Aww.... I'm sorry you're retarded.

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (1)

chispito (1870390) | about 2 years ago | (#40595651)

I don't think it's practical, but I get the point. Think of this as a train that can adjust local stops on the fly before being embarking on regional "railways."

Re:It's SENSATIONAL! But also kind of BORING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595751)

Congratulations! you just invented high speed rail!

Please be aware (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595305)

That the bathroom is broken, and the next stop is in 1500 miles.

Sounds super (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595307)

The bus runs on batteries, and it can fly along at nearly 300 km/h (or 192 mph), and quite 'silently.'

Great, as if it wasn't easy enough to get hit by a bus before, they went and invented one that can do 192 MPH while making no noise...

Transport Tycoon Deluxe (2)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#40595327)

If I'm not mistaken, there was a SuperBus in there as well that did 300km/h

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (0)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40595433)

197MPH...almost as fast as my Mustang.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40595563)

And, unlike your mustang, you can share the ride with more than 4 smelly passengers.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40595641)

Well, with the rear seat delete option, I can only take one. But I have room for groceries!

And..Silent? FTS!

I paid extra for the better sounding exhaust.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40595715)

After all that it is still a mustang.

Buying a fancy mustang is exactly like spending $20k to tune up a civic. Both of these kind of folks would be better off just buying a real performance car.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#40595885)

Yeah...for the cost of my Shelby, I could buy a rear view mirror for a "real performance car".

But I can still go almost as fast and look twice as cool. Well, as long as they don't actually see me.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40596333)

For a similar price ($54,000 so sayeth ford website) you could purchase the following actual performance cars:
M3
Porsche Cayman
SLK350
5 Series Gran Turismo
C63 AMG
Corvette

There are many more. I did not say supercar, just performance car. You will note I left out the other redneck ricer car, the Camaro. For that kind of scratch you would think people would want a car that looks like they spent it.

To each their own I guess.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40595809)

If you delete the rear seat that should make room for an additional two passengers, if you stack them right.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 2 years ago | (#40595671)

On the other hand, it most likely handles better than your Mustang. ;)

I had to... No, I really did.

(or 192 mph) (0)

Kidbro (80868) | about 2 years ago | (#40595391)

Significant digits, motherfucker! Do you know them?

Re:(or 192 mph) (1)

galadran (1099427) | about 2 years ago | (#40595449)

Significant digits, motherfucker! Do you know them?

I've not read the article, but 300 can have 1, 2 or 3 significant figures. If I'm measuring a length to three significant digits and it happens to be precisely 200, I've not lost precision...

Re:(or 192 mph) (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40595511)

300km/h is almost exactly 186 mph, not 192 mph, so methinks OP has a point of some kind (not 100% sure what it is, though).

Re:(or 192 mph) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595669)

Obviously someone misunderstood how sig. fig.'s work. If you know the original number to have 3 sf's, and convert it to a different scale, and the result is 3 sf's, it's not an abuse of sf's to list the original with an ambiguous number of sf's, (300) and the equivalent with 3 decidedly significant figures. Especially considering that all that's being alleged is that 300 km/h is approximately 192 mi/h. TFA is simply translating the speed for people uneducated enough not to know, intuitively what a km/h is, in terms of speed. Also, since 300 km/h is NOT 192 mi/h, but closer to 186, I would think that THAT, and not the number of significant figures would be a more pressing issue with the accuracy, or if you will, the PRECISION, (hahahah) of what's written in TFA.

But congrats, Kidbro, you are officially the first and only Significant Figure Nazi I know. I would call you a Mathematical Grammar Nazi, but your grammar is so poor that it would seem an injustice to put your name, and the concept of the Grammar Nazi, together in the same sentence. "Significant digits, motherfucker!" has no verb, and seems also to be missing a predicate as well. While "motherfucker" does contain the word "fuck", a verb (if a vulgar one), it is not being used in this case, as a verb. I am not a Grammar Nazi myself, but it just seems hilarious you're getting bent out of shape at someone suggesting an equivalence between a number with three significant figures, and one with only one definite significant figure, when they're talking about the top speed of a bus, or buslike vehicle, which would definitely be impacted by such factors as wind speed, incline, load, etc. In other words, you're spitting fucking hairs, dude.

Get over it, learn metric, and have a great Superbus day!

Re:(or 192 mph) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595531)

300 kilometers is roughly 186 miles. Motorcycle manufacturers have a 'gentleman's agreement' to restrict the top-speed of their motorcycles to 300 km/h presumably to stave off the government getting involved.

A 300mph bus? (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 2 years ago | (#40595405)

Just don't let Lucky Star Bus Line get a hold of it. They have a hard enough time not flipping their 70mph buses.

A bus with no storage space (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595415)

For those times when you want to go somewhere, but you don't want to take anything with you or bring anything back.

In other words, fine for going from your hotel to your business meeting, but that's about it. Like a limo without the privacy and quiet. I can't imagine a use for this that would justify dedicated 200km/h lanes.

Re:A bus with no storage space (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40595633)

For those times when you want to go somewhere, but you don't want to take anything with you or bring anything back.

In other words, fine for going from your hotel to your business meeting, but that's about it. Like a limo without the privacy and quiet. I can't imagine a use for this that would justify dedicated 200km/h lanes.

I'm not a sports fan, but this sounds ideal for regional sports "away games". Faster than a plane because of no security theater, while fast enough to get to The Big Game in a reasonable amount of time.

For example the closest pro football team is a good 2 hours away at 75 MPH, but using that 2 hour criteria suddenly there's at least 4, maybe 5 within range?

Sports is pretty much just an excuse for excessive drinking, and I imagine the motion sickness would be worse at 300 KMH than 90 KMH so that might get a bit messy.

have u heard of the GNAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595447)

can provide speeds up to 300 cocks an hour

Ok... (2)

jasno (124830) | about 2 years ago | (#40595459)

Ok, so it's not really designed for mass public transportation, but it looks like it shows some concepts which could be easily applied to mass-transit, long-distance buses.

Does anyone else think that self-driving, high-speed buses like that would eliminate the need for high-speed rail? With billions about to be spent on technology from the 1800's, it seems like there are other options which are much better suited to fulfilling America's transportation needs.

Re:Ok... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40595503)

Any subsequent posts that denounce the cost of the California HSR deserve to be modded off-topic, because that'll degenerate into a total flame war.

Re:Ok... (2)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 2 years ago | (#40595521)

Metal wheels on metal rail have significantly lower rolling resistance than rubber tires on asphalt or concrete, though. And, the infrastructure for rail is better suited to providing electricity to a train (partially because there's already metal to metal contact) than the infrastructure for roads.

Re:Ok... (1)

jasno (124830) | about 2 years ago | (#40595625)

Well polyurethane 'tweels' are in development which should improve the rolling resistance(cuts it 'by half' in one article from 2005).

The infrastructure, and more importantly land rights, for roads already exist, vs the tremendous cost and hassle of laying new rail lines.

Buses can adapt to changing transportation needs quickly, unlike rail lines which take years(or decades).

Natural gas is cheap and plentiful. Is electricity the only option? I don't think so. I'd bet that future battery technology along with the efficiency improvements given by autonomous vehicles will lessen the benefits of rail over self-powered vehicles.

Re:Ok... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40595835)

Buses can adapt to changing transportation needs quickly,

Privately owned / rented bus / school bus, yes. Public, Heck no. Pay attention to your local paper, you'll get 50 bureaucrats and 25 elected officials debating for hours and fighting with the mayor about exactly where to place the bus stop relative to the new condo development. That's before the lawsuit gets filed by the condo developer and it all drags on. And every two horse suburb wants to set up their own service with their own schedule and damn everyone else who doesn't want to follow their transfer schedule, after all they screwed us over on the water rights so we'll get even by not picking up their residents at the transfer station for 2 hours. Meanwhile the owner of the senior citizen apartment building was supposed to sell that building to the mayors wife at a discount, but he decided against it after all, so I guess its bus service is getting pulled (true story... until after the trial they were hiring chartering buses for the elderly residents to visit walmart etc) It just goes on and on. Its not any better, or worse, than trains. Its just train construction is a more obvious project so people think it takes longer. Both are roughly equally corrupt anemic and slow.

Re:Ok... (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40595679)

Finally self driving trains are technologically a bit less complicated than self driving cars.

I'm surprised no one has started outsourcing train/car/taxi driving to India. Well, I've seen the traffic in India... But the point I'm making is you could have any odd number of people cooperatively drive the vehicle. Since we're destroying the middle class intentionally we'll have nothing but ultra rich and ultra poor so we don't need self driving buses if the only thing on the road is ultra-luxury limos and for-profit prison cattle wagons, but if you demand a non-present driver it would seen teleoperation would be much simpler than hard AI.

Trains are even simpler because if you lose signal, simply apply the E-brake and its all good, unlike cars.

Re:Ok... (3, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#40595731)

Metal wheels on rail also makes for generally lousy acceleration and braking, which in turn leads to complicated safety systems and long gaps between trains. Building a road for this ought to be a lot cheaper than electric high speed rail.

Of course that is no use if the bus is extremely expensive. Current trains can easily cost USD 50,000 per seat, so if it can get anywhere near that figure it is a win. Operating costs may be higher, at least until it is made driverless.

The big question is whether people will use it. Right now there is a "rail effect" where putting in a rail service with exactly the same characteristics as a bus service will attract perhaps a third more passengers. Even if it isn't faster or more reliable. Missing out on 1/4th of the passengers could easily kill off this idea.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595523)

Doesn't address the fundamental problem of mass-transit in the U.S. --- getting people from where they are to where the vehicle is.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595601)

That problem was already solved.

Yo dawg, I heard you like mass-transit, so we created a mass-transit system to get you to the mass-transit system, so you can mass-transit while you mass-transit.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595565)

There is already a plan to do away with HSR by replacing it with high speed buses http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNixDlRoMvA

Re:Ok... (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40595611)

Does anyone else think that self-driving, high-speed buses like that would eliminate the need for high-speed rail?

Well, sure!

... Except, according to TU Delft's website, [superbusproject.com] the feasibility of their 'superbus' is dependent on...

Wait for it...

Dedicated roadways! You know, like the ones trains run on, sans rails. So, not all that different after all (light rail actually wins out on this one, thanks to the ability to actually attach the vehicle to the infrastructure...)

Re:Ok... (2)

jasno (124830) | about 2 years ago | (#40595677)

Yeah but that requirement is obviously driven by the presence of human-piloted vehicles on the roadways.

In 25 years, do you think you'll be able to drive your own car anymore? I doubt it. Autonomous vehicles are coming, and I suspect that in a quarter century we'll be regulating human-operated vehicles off public roads.

Re:Ok... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40596267)

Yeah but that requirement is obviously driven by the presence of human-piloted vehicles on the roadways.

Would be nice if you had reference what you mean by "that requirement"... Assuming you mean it in reference to dedicated roadways, it's not 'human-piloted' that's the issue, so much as the sheer volume of traffic. 250 million cars on the road is 250 million cars on the road, regardless of who's controlling them.

On top of that, thanks to our continuing foray into the abject failure that is trickle-down economics (/rant), people are hanging on their cars for much, much longer... [time.com] If the trend continues, 25 years from now the majority of cars on the road very well may be 2012 model years.

In 25 years, do you think you'll be able to drive your own car anymore? I doubt it. Autonomous vehicles are coming, and I suspect that in a quarter century we'll be regulating human-operated vehicles off public roads.

First off, assuming we don't extinguish our species by then (always a possibility), who gets to drive what and where will be the least of our problems. [fpif.org]

Second, 25 years is a long time in the socio-political and technological sense. Who knows what might happen? Any prediction that far out is pretty much guaranteed to be incorrect. Otherwise, we'd all have been flying our jetpacks to moon condos by the 1980s. [aviationintel.com]

Thrid, no, I don't think I'll be able to drive my own car, I know it, and for several seemingly obvious reasons:

- Not everyone will want/be able to jump on to the self-driving car bandwagon.
- Preventing people from operating their own motor vehicles on publicly funded roads is a Constitutional violation of the right to travel freely
- Upgrades to the entire country's infrastructure would have to be decided, approved, and funded by Congress... you know, the fucktards who are typically so busy arguing about petty bullshit like spoiled 8-year-olds, they appear incapable of so much as considering such important matters.
- Again from the political angle, "regulating human-operated vehicles off public roads" sound commie. Nobody (in America, from an idiot-political standpoint) likes commies.
- There are almost 60 million miles of paved roads that would have to be altered, and another million miles of unpaved roads which, more than likely, would be ignored. No big deal for those living in highly urbanized areas, but what about those of us who live in the boonies? Your self-driving car would never make it within 10 miles of my country home.
- "Death by GPS," [lmgtfy.com] only w/ self-driving cars, you can't blame it on human error. Can't wait for the flood of lawsuits because of a simple map glitch (['turning left here' "Shit, that's a ravine, NNNNNOOOOOOOOOooooooooo..." SPLAT] * [every car on the road] = [one really big fucking mess])

I do imagine there will be a fair number of automated autos on the roads within the next 25 years, but the idea that they will completely replace human-controlled autos is specious at best.

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595767)

wait, what if you called the (I know, I read TFA) dedicated infrastructure a *gasp* HOV lane.That's all it is, another lane.

Re:Ok... (1)

Eric S. Smith (162) | about 2 years ago | (#40596019)

That's all it is, another lane.

With vehicles moving at 300 km/h on it, you're going to need a bit more segregation than a painted line, if only to keep other traffic from being sucked into the wake of the "super bus."

Seems like an interesting idea (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#40595489)

With all of these 21st century ultra-highspeed rail systems, would an approach like this with dedicated tracks or roads work better?

Yet another "supercar". (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40595515)

OK, somebody built a stretch-limo electric supercar. Those are fun, but not too useful. A stretch-limo version of a Ferrari has been built.

The dual rear axles steer, so the turning circle is reasonable. (Many tour buses have that feature.) The limited ground clearance is going to be a problem on a long vehicle. It would have trouble with many driveways and all speed bumps. They should have put in a suspension that allows lifting the vehicle when necessary.

The demo vehicle has lead-acid batteries and limited range. The designer talks about going to a more advanced battery technology. They also talk about battery swapping, but they'd need a network of battery-swap stations sized for this thing.

Re:Yet another "supercar". (0)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#40595613)

It would have trouble with many driveways and all speed bumps.

So do trains. This is a way to make cheaper high speed rail, by avoiding the actual rail.

Re:Yet another "supercar". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595727)

actually the designer said that it needed a new infrastructure in the video in the little bit I actually watched.

If you have to upgrade infrastructure anyways then there's got to be a better way to do it from top to bottom then a stretch-limo Lamborghini look-a-like. It isn't like someone is going to go stick that thing on an LA freeway and just drive around at 185mph.

Re:Yet another "supercar". (2)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#40595973)

If you have to upgrade infrastructure anyways then there's got to be a better way to do it from top to bottom then a stretch-limo Lamborghini look-a-like

Is there? You need it to be light per-passenger because you don't have low rolling resistance of rail, so you can't afford the waste of floor space in trains (aisles etc.). You need it to be stable because you don't have the secure catch offered by rail, so it needs to be quite low and can't look like a bus.

Re:Yet another "supercar". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595789)

The demo vehicle has lead-acid batteries and limited range. The designer talks about going to a more advanced battery technology. They also talk about battery swapping, but they'd need a network of battery-swap stations sized for this thing.

Given that they claim to be targeting the Saudi and Emirate market, gas costs next to nothing in those countries. Batteries make no sense.

Hopeless project (2)

EdwinV (87210) | about 2 years ago | (#40595529)

I probably know a little bit more about this thing than most and most of it is not good. Usually when trying something new, you'd expect people to try and prove the concept before doing anything really expensive. Here it was the other way around. Most of the effort was put into making a flashy prototype with all the bells and whistles in place. Really, worrying about where to mount the LCD displays? The result is a machine that incredibly expensive with no chance of commercialisation because litterally every part it contains is different. The things that were important, like aerodynamics and structural reliability have enough left over issues for anybody involved in the design to not want to be in it when it drives full speed. It it ever will. I suppose this is what you get when you hand over pretty much unlimited funding to people that have little interest in the actual science.

Re:Hopeless project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40596285)

sounds like sour grapes from a member on one of the competing teams ;-)

That doesn't matter. Road damage matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40596367)

It's a university built high speed bus. Many people will expect it to have major flaws (it's electric for cripes sake!). What matters is how much road damage the said vehicle causes at high speeds, how much the road costs to build, and unexpected problems that come up during real world operations. High speed passenger rail evolved almost by accident. Given the rising influence of aerodynamic drag at higher speeds, the advantage of rail over road diminishes. I hope high speed bus becomes a lower population alternative to high speed rail.

Lots of space in the Arabian Desert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595559)

Something to bear in mind is that, while this wouldn't really solve any problem in a city (and might create more than a few), it would probably do a decent job moving a number of very rich passengers across a wide open road if it didn't have much traffic. As I recall, quite a few of these highways exist in the Arabian Desert, so anyone who decided not to fly for some reason might see this as a decent alternative. Still pretty much a toy, though.

Re:Lots of space in the Arabian Desert (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40595711)

From personal experience the best way to use a bus is to drive from drinking establishment to drinking establishment, and those are few and far between in the kingdom of S.A. .. at least officially. Now in Germany where the small villages are spaced roughly 10 kilotons apart, we could go pub hopping almost faster than a bathroom break at 300 KPH.

Maybe sightseeing tours, where you can go from vegas to the hoover dam in minutes?

Re:Lots of space in the Arabian Desert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40596389)

Now in Germany where the small villages are spaced roughly 10 kilotons apart,

I've seen people playing RTS calculate their base size in terms of WMD effect, but I didn't think Germany measured distances in small nukes also.

Re:Lots of space in the Arabian Desert (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#40595999)

It could work as a sort of low cost low capacity high speed rail. While the cost of high speed road is comparable to that of high speed rail, roads can also be used by ordinary cars.

I think you're right. Could be a demand for this in the middle East, where there are plenty of people with fast cars. Have a dedicated lane with a minimum speed limit, and go from Riyadh to Jedah in 3 and a half hours.

Speed is irrelevant (4, Interesting)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40595589)

The speed of mass transit solutions is often irrelevant unless you're talking about ~300 mile trips where High Speed Rail becomes competitive with air travel. A much bigger factor is frequency. If you have to wait 15 minutes at a stop rather than 30 minutes then that shaves a considerable amount of time off your journey without resorting to unsafe velocities. When you see a tram with an aerodynamic front puttering along the street at 20MPH then you know that the aero front was all for show and had more to do with securing funding than actually improving performance. I suspect that the advertised top speed of this 'bus' has more to do with getting publicity and investor attention than anything that's likely to see service. Even on a German autobahn I wouldn't want to be sitting on a bus that goes faster than 70MPH.

That said, journey time alone is not the only factor in mass transit. Comfort and convenience are a big deal. I know I'd rather have a nap or read a book or get some work done than have to focus on driving.

Some of the routing ideas mentioned in the project's website are worth a closer look. Some interesting concepts in there.

Re:Speed is irrelevant (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40595917)

When you see a tram with an aerodynamic front puttering along the street at 20MPH then you know that the aero front was all for show

Nope. There is a reason for that smooth, sloped nose. Idaho Stops [wordspy.com].

Re:Speed is irrelevant (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40596427)

When you see a tram with an aerodynamic front puttering along the street at 20MPH then you know that the aero front was all for show

Nope. There is a reason for that smooth, sloped nose. Idaho Stops [wordspy.com].

Huh? What's that got to do with the price of fish?

High Speed Bus Lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595689)

http://www.theonion.com/video/obama-replaces-costly-highspeed-rail-plan-with-hig,18473/

yay!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40595707)

Now someone can go drifting in the "superbus" and throw even more people out the windows when they hit the side of the road.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aW6d46VbpM

Looks like a great transport from LA to Vegas (2)

K8Fan (37875) | about 2 years ago | (#40595993)

The world's fastest limo! At that kind of speed, it might be the fastest way from LA to Las Vegas, if you count all the airport security, baggage, etc.

This is the school bus that Bruce Wayne used to ride.

Does it come with a spare tire? (3, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 2 years ago | (#40596131)

I found the limitations a bit much:

200km range... or about 124 miles. Doesn't even get you from San Francisco to LA. Even if it only takes you 30minutes to get there, you're only saving about an hour. And this would required dedicated infrastructure/roads. Not exactly easy given that our highways are already crowded.

Does it come with a spare? I realize that Greyhound buses have the same problem, but those buses a) carry many more people per trip and b) the company has a much better infrastructure for dealing with broken down buses. Plus the buses have no problems going over curbs, parking lot entrances etc..

Where do you store luggage? Do you hold your bags on your lap?

Looks like a stretch Ferrari. Interesting yes, practical no.

Confucius Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40596151)

Never get on bus that requires 5 point seatbelt.

Better Analogy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40596165)

Would someone please explain this using a car analogy?

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