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Robocabs Coming to Europe

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the automated-mass-transit dept.


Roland Piquepaille writes "Almost all of us can recall both good and poor memories of taxi rides when we arrived in a city we didn't know. This is why a short article from Spiegel Online, 'Bringing Robot Transportation to Europe,' caught my eye this morning. It briefly describes the European 'CityMobil' project which involves 28 partners in 10 countries at a cost of €40 million. This project plans to eliminate city drivers and three trial sites have already been selected. For example, in 2008, Terminal 5 in London's Heathrow airport will be connected to the car park by driverless electric cars along a 4-kilometer track. Read more for additional pictures and references about this project to make the roads in Europe's cities more efficient."

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Robo-what? (2, Funny)

vistic (556838) | about 8 years ago | (#16070258)

Did anyone else read that as "Robocrabs" and imagine some nasty STD of the future?

Re:Robo-what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070278)

No, but I did read:

Roland Piquepaille writes:

"Here's a link to a story that I found. My blog entry is fucking useless, as 90% of it is the quoted article, but here'$ a link to it anyhow."

Re:Robo-what? (1)

Simon80 (874052) | about 8 years ago | (#16070304)

I read it as robocops, lol..

Re:Robo-what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070626)

You're not the only one.

Re:Robo-what? (1)

sanoBabun httpishwo- (898649) | about 8 years ago | (#16070426)

aren't there enough appus around ?

Re:Robo-what? (1)

croddy (659025) | about 8 years ago | (#16070494)

all i can think of is douglas quaid ripping the head off the johnnycab.

Re:Robo-what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070722)

Hey asshole, that was Arnold!

Re:Robo-what? (1)

johansalk (818687) | about 8 years ago | (#16070506)

Nah. They never think of it; no one has a chance of getting an STD here.

haha it is true! (4, Funny)

macaulay805 (823467) | about 8 years ago | (#16070271)

In Soviet Russia, car drives you!

Re:haha it is true! (0, Flamebait)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | about 8 years ago | (#16070390)

Shut the fuck up. Have you ever heard of Internet? Well, that's what you're fucking up with your retarded jokes.

Internet is serious buisness. SERIOUS FUCKING BUISNESS, and I don't need you fucking around on it, so do us all a favor and turn your computer off so the rest of us can get back to making money. SERIOUS MONEY.

Re:haha it is true! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070493)

You might want to take some of that serious money you are making so that you can buy yourself some spelling lessons, otherwise you won't get far in the "buisness" world.

Re:haha it is true! (1)

Sillygates (967271) | about 8 years ago | (#16070827)

I'm failing to see how this is an electric car system, they just seem to be less efficient, smaller airport tram cars. Am I missing something?

I totally remember something like this! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070272)

"You're in a JohnnyCab!"

Re:I totally remember something like this! (2, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#16070303)

'rop me orf a mah hice ear the tar London.

"I'm sorry, could you please restate your desination!"

Re:I totally remember something like this! (1)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | about 8 years ago | (#16070311)

Meh. That's pretty good. You should've titled your post as "I totally recall somthing like this!"

Re:I totally remember something like this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16071006)

Well, I'm sure you can remember it for him wholesale?

Re:I totally remember something like this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070572)

first thing I thought about when I saw this. Total Recall.

Re:I totally remember something like this! (1)

dswensen (252552) | about 8 years ago | (#16070800)

"How do they work?"

"The door opens... you get in." *rolls eyes*

When you pay the fare it says (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | about 8 years ago | (#16070273)

"Thank you, for you're cooperation."

Re:When you pay the fare it says (3, Funny)

PoprocksCk (756380) | about 8 years ago | (#16070318)

You're welcome. And yes, I am cooperation.

Re:When you pay the fare it says (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | about 8 years ago | (#16070331)

It's a dark day when a man can't cut and paste a simple Roboquote off of some randomly googled fansite without fear of grammatical errors.

Re:When you pay the fare it says (1)

TCM (130219) | about 8 years ago | (#16070796)

It would help if he himself could write the language. Then he could correct it and not have fear.

Arnold (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | about 8 years ago | (#16070274)

Ever seen "Total Recall"?

"[...] driverless electric cars along a 4-kilometer track."
How is this different than EWR's monorail or other systems? I fail to see how this is a true automated cab system.

Re:Arnold (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 years ago | (#16070294)

How is this different than EWR's monorail or other systems?
I don't know about EWR, but this appears to be a point-to-point system, which navigates to where you select instead of having preset routes and switchovers. And it means you ride by yourself (or company of your choosing) instead of 60 anonymous people. Incidentally, eliminating the "mass" from "mass transit" also makes a much smaller target for terrorism.

Re:Arnold (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16070408)

They've invented the MIT Model Railroad Club.


You're in a Johnny Cab ... (1)

willtsmith (466546) | about 8 years ago | (#16070308)

I wonder if it will have an animatronic driver with minimal voice recognition just like the movie. ;-)

Total Recall (1)

FalconDelta (1000597) | about 8 years ago | (#16070322)

"You're in a Johnny Cab" While I doubt the cabs envisioned in this plan will possess the enraged mind of a serial killer like in the movie, and by serial killer I'm referring to corrupt and otherwise mysterious government or non-government agencies, I'm not sure what advantage they're going to have over other forms of transportation. I think the cabs might be a good idea if they were servicing people who were going to many different destinations - why do we take real cabs? because we're not always going to the same place that the bus or train is going to. I think the real advantage of this system would be to allow users to access many destination points along a given track. But the shortness of this track, as well as the limited number of destinations, makes me wonder why someone thought that little pod-cars would be better than a train/monorail as others have suggested. The pod-cars are cool enough, but let's build a city around them, not just a single end-to-end terminal run!

Re:Arnold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070421)

How is this different than EWR's monorail or other systems?

This system will allow you to gawk at a chick with three boobs while you ride.

Ineffective (1)

bendodge (998616) | about 8 years ago | (#16070283)

Robot taxis have to be able to drive. So far, only a few cars have been able to do that, and that was in the desert with a truck-sized load of equipment. So don't expect them soon.

The future is here (2, Interesting)

lazybratsche (947030) | about 8 years ago | (#16070292)

I think this marks the point where the future is right now. Or will be in three years. If it works. Hopefully. Either way, at least in principle, automated traffic like this could be faster, safer, and more effecient. And if this particular project doesn't work out as hoped, the next one will.

Re:The future is here (1)

Killshot (724273) | about 8 years ago | (#16070367)

No, the future will never be right now.

Re:The future is here (1)

MustardMan (52102) | about 8 years ago | (#16070399)

Maybe next to a black hole...

The past is here, only more intimate. (2, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | about 8 years ago | (#16070713)

Most major urban areas have public transportation which covers 95 or so percent of the land area. This is just a more intimate version of good old public transportation.

Show me a robo version that can take me from any point in the city to any address in a forth-ring suburb and I'll be impressed. A 4 Km track is no different than two subway stops in any city.

Re:The past is here, only more intimate. (3, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | about 8 years ago | (#16070990)

I agree with you, and have been hoping that some day they start doing this in denser areas. Being able to use advanced routing methods to move people from A to B in place of the inefficient and unaware cars and buses of today would be very useful. There are a few problems I can think of that need to be sorted out to get this to work properly though:
- Efficient routing around disasters, with breakdown detection to prevent a single system failure from breaking the entire network.
- Some sort of weight detection system to ensure that people do not leave anything on the vehicles (bags, bombs, etc). Normally a driver would point these things out but automated systems lack that ability.
- Some sort of 'digital nose' type device to detect the vehicles which have stink bombs, vomit, and whatever other lovely smells that can be accrued by frequent usage in a densely populated area, and allow the vehicles to be removed from service and cleaned instantly.
- Decent integration with pedestrians. They need to be able to go as fast as possible so that fewer vehicles are needed, but must not clog up roads for traffic and pedestrians. Ideally some sort of sunken road could be used where appropriate perhaps, allowing large boulevards at ground level, and enabling their usage in pedestrianised areas.
- Easy to use for disabled people.
- Free or cheaper than driving a car or taking a bus.
- Must run at all hours, not be limited like public transport is, as this encourages people to either stumble around cities drunk after clubs close, or sometimes risk driving home.

That is all that I can think of right now, anyone got any others? A private public-transport would be very welcome.

Packet Networks (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16070295)

I'd love to see tests of robocars on subway tracks. Start with just GPS on the usual cars, to integrate live positioning into the signaling/switching system. Then put GPS on some empty cars steered from the central signaling/switching control stations. Then let people request destinations from originating stations. First big chains of cars carrying people between their shared endpoints. Then little individual cars between points. At first filling the spaces between traditional trains on traditional lines.

Eventually the "circuit switched" subways will be replaced with much more efficient, safe packet switched trains. Which link up along their shared segments for greater efficiency, but connect custom paths on demand.

GPS - Eh? (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 8 years ago | (#16070310)

A spanner in the works of your plan...

GPS tends to be a non-starter in subways or any covered area ;-)

Re:GPS - Eh? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16070325)

Yes, you're right. I used GPS without thinking about the coverage.

NYC subways are outdoors quite a bit, outside Manhattan. Under cover they can use other location tech.

The subways should use realtime location data anyway, so we can look at realtime maps and ETA estimates to plan our trips.

Sounds complex (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#16070863)

Oh I don't mean the technology needed to implement it. I mean getting the public to actually use it without getting confused by high tech like the door button.

The dutch rail network has some lines wich split at a point so that the first half of the train goes in one direction and the last half in another. It is on a couple of lines, ALWAYS happens and is very clearly announded and printed on the signs. And each and every ride people get it wrong. Not every day, every single ride. Can you imagine the mess if a train is made up out of random parts going to random destinations?

Re:Packet Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070900)

hey da vinci, Do you plan on harnessing the suns power to run the transceivers need in each car? You are under how man kilo's of pipe and dirt?

Along a track? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070296)

You mean, like trains and subways?

Re:Along a track? (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16070360)

You mean, like trains and subways?

With sufficient research ( and government grants) scienctists hope to invent something they call a "trolley," although I think the idea is perhaps too futuristic and we aren't ready for it.


Re:Along a track? (1)

Peyna (14792) | about 8 years ago | (#16070455)

So, are places like Dayton that still have electric (trackless) trolleys ahead or behind the times?

Re:Along a track? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070477)

Considering it's in Ohio and no one wants to live there, I'll say behind.

Re:Along a track? (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16070509)

Dayton exists in an alternate universe, where the laws of time and space as the rest of us understand them do not apply.


I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070312)

... welcome our new taxi-driver robot overlords!

Just hope they don't use Vista for voice recognition, or it will drive you to your aunt's house, instead of your mom's.

another Piquepaille adwhore submission (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070317)

tag as "pigpile" to warn slashdotters not to support this adwhore (and possibly the editors who seemingly receive kickbacks)

Re:another Piquepaille adwhore submission (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070375)

where do you tag /. articles? where do you read others' tags?

Already done (4, Insightful)

dayid (802168) | about 8 years ago | (#16070323)

So you mean by 2008 we'll have reverted back to trollies and cable-cars? Perhaps people will even ride in electric vehicles that carry 30 or more people! Then everyone can get there for a tenth of the price! Oh wait, no that's a bus...

1) Take age old idea.
2) Do the same thing only with added benefit of key words.
3) Sell it as a new idea
4) Get fools to buy it.

Yeah, that's right, no "?????" step here.

Re:Already done (2, Informative)

evil agent (918566) | about 8 years ago | (#16070378)

So you mean by 2008 we'll have reverted back to trollies and cable-cars? Perhaps people will even ride in electric vehicles that carry 30 or more people! Then everyone can get there for a tenth of the price! Oh wait, no that's a bus...

For God's sake, you didn't have to even have to RTFA. All you had to do was read the summary:

This project plans to eliminate city drivers

I don't know where you live, but I haven't seen many trollies, cable-cars, buses, cabs, trains, or really any vehicles that are driver-less.

Re:Already done (3, Interesting)

wwwillem (253720) | about 8 years ago | (#16070532)

I don't know where you live, but I haven't seen many trollies, cable-cars, buses, cabs, trains, or really any vehicles that are driver-less.

Don't know where you live :), but many US airports nowadays (Denver, Atlanta spring to mind) have a no-driver subway system to interconnect the terminals. Or the light-rail that interconnects SFO with the rental car garage. Those systems run pretty smooth. I personally trust a computer more to "stop for a red signal" than a driver, that maybe had a fight with his dear one the night before.

For the rest this topic is IMHO pretty much crap, because a taxi brings you from anyware to anyware and even more from door to door. Don't think that these pilot projects are getting anyware close to that. What most airports need is a railway connection with the downtown they belong to. But because all around the world the taxi operators (not the drivers but the license holders) are one big mafia with good connections into local politics, that hardly happens anywhere.

Yes, I know the many exceptions (Amsterdam, Tokio, Heathrow), but I know 10x more cities (Singapore, Toronto, La Guardia, Denver, Vancouver, Mexico City, etc.) where you can absolutely forget it to have decent public transport from the airport to city center. In many of those cities a subway/metro/lightrail system comes even close to the airport, but just doesn't bridge the gap of "the last mile".

Re:Already done (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 8 years ago | (#16070792)

you can add DFW airport and the Miami, FL financial district to that list. The latter has been running for close to a decade now. i once saw a trolly open and close it's doors 20 times in a row due to a bug in the software, but other than that it's pretty freaking great. dfw's trolly system was just installed a year or two ago... but i've never used/seen it, despite flying from dallas to miami twice a year. maybe i'm just in the wrong parts of the terminal(s).

Re:Already done (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16070388)

4) Get fools to buy it.

The great thing is that in 50 years you'll be able to sell the same fools cabs again, then trollies, then cabs, then. . .

All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown. . .


Re:Already done (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 8 years ago | (#16070756)

Then everyone can get there for a tenth of the price! Oh wait, no that's a bus...

You haven't been on a bus lately...

A more insightful article.. (4, Informative)

rufusdufus (450462) | about 8 years ago | (#16070332)

I found a more insightful article [] that explains the advantage of this system over existing airport shuttle systems:
The difference for passengers will be not so much the journey time - which will be about four minutes - but how long they have to wait. Instead of huddling under a shelter for as long as 20 minutes as they currently do waiting for a bus, the pod will be at most a minute away.

Re:A more insightful article.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070526)

No kidding. Why the hell is slashdot linking to Piquepaille's blog? All he does is quote the article he links to. A link to another article (such as your link) might have been a lot more useful.

He's an advertising whore, and deserves to be pointed out as such every time his "submission" appears on slashdot.

annoying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070339)

it's not a taxi at all. it's a 4 km. rail. last time i rode a taxi, i gave the driver an address and the driver took me there, then i paid. this won't do any such thing, therefore to mr. european designer i have to say : YOU FAIL IT!!

Fuck Roland Piquepaille (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070350)

And the blog he rode in on.

Er.. (1)

Dread Pirate Skippy (963698) | about 8 years ago | (#16070361)

How is this not just a fancy commuter rail? Am I missing something?

Re:Er.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070417)

This lets you avoid people better.

Rapid Urban Flexible (RUF) is better (3, Informative)

Russ Nelson (33911) | about 8 years ago | (#16070380)

The RUF [] is a better system than this. First, because it's dual-mode: you can drive (compatible) cars up onto the guideway. Second, because cars are privately owned (in addition to cars owned by the system operator and run as taxis within the system), the system operator will not have to come up with all the capital needed to run the line .... just the guideway and whatever number of taxis they want to run.

Re:Rapid Urban Flexible (RUF) is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070854)

The RUF project has been around for a long time, but the problem seems to be that they don't know where to start. They seem to have the goal of reforming the infra structure of an entire city in one go. Perhaps this could have been done in a strongly centralistic state like the former Soviet Union, but in the modern capitalistic world it is not possible. The RUF people never really adapted to the truth and started looking at realistic scenatios.

Nevertheless it is a beautiful idea...

New Face on Old Idea (1)

kahrytan (913147) | about 8 years ago | (#16070382)

  This is just a old transportation with a new spin. It's not an automated cab. it's just a smaller train.

Cabs do curb side service from your current location to your destination. Besides, I am glad cab drivers are safe and able to keep their jobs.

Hmm... (1, Redundant)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 years ago | (#16070385)

Thank you for riding with Johnny Cabs.

It's Called PRT (3, Informative)

dreadlord76 (562584) | about 8 years ago | (#16070400)

Personal Rapid Transit t []

Re:It's Called PRT (1)

ms1234 (211056) | about 8 years ago | (#16070659)

Although not personal, Chicago O'Hare has something similar I remeber, moving from one terminal to another. Also the Helsinki metro will most likely move to automated trains (without drivers) an a few years.

We don't need robots - we need shopping-cart taxis (4, Interesting)

TomRC (231027) | about 8 years ago | (#16070422)

Robots aren't very good drivers yet.

What we need are really cheap taxis that people can rent with a credit or debit card, drive a short distance, and pretty much just jump out and leave them. They need to be about as cheap as shopping carts - and even designed to fold up like shopping carts, so they can be racked conveniently in a compact space.

You'd probably rent the right to keep one at home over-night. You'd drive it a mile or two on surburban streets to a bus or lightrail terminal, where you'd rack it and get your "taxicard" back. Ride the transit, get off within a mile or two of where you need to be. Grab another taxi-cart, insert your taxicard, drive to your final destination. Rack it up with dozens or hundreds of others in the taxicart stall, and get your taxicard back again.

Reverse that, when going home. Each Taxicart stand would have extra taxicarts, and a computer system would note when a stand runs out completely, so that a couple of extras could quickly be delivered there. In the rare case that you arrive somewhere with an empty taxicart rack, you can punch a button to have one delivered, and get a credit for your inconvenience of having to wait.

The taxicart would be all electric, with maybe a 15 mile range, probably about 25mph maximum speed. It would re-charge while racked up. It'd also have a small tank of water - in the summer that'd be frozen (while on the rack) to provide maybe half an hour's air conditioning. In the winter, it'd be heated, for about the same duration of heat.

It'd be computer tracked with wireless and GPS - so the central computer could track units that get stalled. If you need to go somewhere without a rack, and leave the cart there, you could punch a button and pay to have it picked up - trucks would drive around just for that purpose - and again get your taxicard back. It'd have a plug too, so you could charge it up if necessary.

Don't need that either (1, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 8 years ago | (#16070470)

Think what life would be like if no one needed to actually own their own car, if all car needs were met by robotaxis. I mean with enough of them around that you could pick one up within a minute at most. You would call for one on your cell phone -- it would use your cell phone location to know where to pick you up -- you'd say or type in the address -- when you get there, it charges your cell phone or robotaxi account or whatever -- it goes away to serve somebody else.

You could get by with one tenth the number of cars on the road today.

You could eliminate most parking at offices and factories and in residential areas.

You could reduce te number of cars sold every year by a factor of ten.

They could mostly be electric, thus quieter and centralizing the smog makers at power plants.

You could always get a vehicle more suited to your immediate needs. No need to buy a uge general purpose SUV or minivan or pickup just for the occasional furniture move or picking up loads of potting soil.

I am all in favor of tese robotaxis.

Re:Don't need that either (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 8 years ago | (#16070580)

You could get by with one tenth the number of cars on the road today.

You'd have exactly the same number of cars on the road as you have now.
Unless you increase the number of passengers per vehicle, or decrease the number of powered trips (bicycles/feet), it would be the same number of trips here and there. There might be fewer vehicles in total circulation, but the number in motion at any one time would be the same. There would, of course, be fewer sitting around in driveways and parking lots.

You could reduce te number of cars sold every year by a factor of ten.

Wear and tear. If you and 9 other people in your neighborhood all used one car, how long would it last at 200,000 miles per year?
Who mediates when all 10 of you need to get to work at the same time, in different places?

They could mostly be electric, thus quieter and centralizing the smog makers at power plants.

This has zero to do with power source. Electric could happen with or without robocars.

Re:Don't need that either (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 8 years ago | (#16070786)

You could get by with one tenth the number of cars on the road today.

You need to do your sums. There would be just as many people going to exactly the same destinations as before, so there would be no reduction in traffic.

Your system would mean there would be a massive shortage during rush hour (and no reduction of congestion), and a massive surplus during quiet times.

In fact you would be ADDING to the traffic: as well as the usual journeys, you now have empty taxis going back and forth to pick people up.

You could eliminate most parking at offices and factories and in residential areas.

Suppose I have things such as shopping, gym gear, fishing gear etc? A parked car doubles as a storage space.

You could reduce te number of cars sold every year by a factor of ten.

That is not a benefit.

They could mostly be electric, thus quieter and centralizing the smog makers at power plants.

Any car could be electric, automatic taxi or privately owned. This is not relevant.

Re:We don't need robots - we need shopping-cart ta (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070560)

"They need to be about as cheap as shopping carts - and even designed to fold up like shopping carts, so they can be racked conveniently in a compact space."

Dude, if you have to be unrealistic in your ideas, go all the way to personal transporters: "Beam me to work Scotty!"

If you want to see a realistic implementation of your idea (minus the folding cars -- forget rentals, if those were possible, they'd be in every household in Japan), look at [] -- the weakness is that you have to return to your origin, so that it is not appropriate for commuting or going to the airport.

Anyway, robots are fine drivers if you take the variability out of the system. Presumably, that's why these are on rails, to simplify the system to the point where they can navigate without too much risk of disturbance.

Re:We don't need robots - we need shopping-cart ta (1)

TomRC (231027) | about 8 years ago | (#16071008)

Dooooood! Learn to recognize hyperbole!

Re:We don't need robots - we need shopping-cart ta (1)

dcmeserve (615081) | about 8 years ago | (#16070746)

I've heard there's a system somewhat like this, in Holland, I think.

It's called "bike stealing."

Re:We don't need robots - we need shopping-cart ta (1)

jhermans (108300) | about 8 years ago | (#16070970)

That already exists - I drove one yesterday (Antwerp, Belgium). Not electrical though, it was a regular car (Ford Focus).

It's car-sharing : if you need a car, you rent one for the time you need. You can pick one up from a few points around the city, and you have to leave it back there when you're finished. If you want to keep it longer (overnight, or when you need it for a weeekend), just keep it. You're paying with a special card (in this case, a RFID card), so that only authorized persons can borrow one, and you will be charged with the numbers of kilometers that you use.

It's a kind of automated car rental company, with a membership card.

Another interesting article by Rolland Piquepaille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070424)

Seriously... does this guy have some sort of mental problems? He grabs every crappy article with stupid claims such as that egyptians already used nanotechnology [] just because some compounds they used to dye their hairs had particles as tiny as 5nm dia.

Then, as a proof that lightning does strike the same spot twice, another stupidity submitted by him to ./ manages to make it to the front page. This time a press release that just uses the name "taxi" for what is commonly known as "trolley", with some added buzzwords.

Re:Another interesting article by Rolland Piquepai (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 8 years ago | (#16070612)

ScuttleMonkey and Zonk are to blame, IMO. CmdrTaco has stated that he thinks Roland's "submissions" are shit.

RoboEditors that posted links for popular digg stories would be more effective (and have less dupes).

Re:Another interesting article by Rolland Piquepai (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070689)

ScuttleMonkey and Zonk are paid by Roland to post links to his AdBlog.

CmdrTaco may genuinely believe Roland's submissions are "shit", but he knows they aren't worthless, as Slashdot no doubt also benefits financially from Roland and his scams in some way or other.

Deny the above as much as you like ScuttleMonkey, Zonk, CmdrTaco et al, but you're wasting your breath---we know the truth already.

Aww man.... (0, Offtopic)

shakezula (842399) | about 8 years ago | (#16070433)

I got nine kids to feed...

Bring it on (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 8 years ago | (#16070439)

I have long thougt that owning cars is silly -- most cars are used for commuting. They drive for a few minutes, they sit, they drive for a few minutes, they sit. All those parking spaces -- streets in US residential areas are twice as wide as tey need to be so everybody can park their commute vehicles.

I figured sooner or later it would come to robotic cars -- you ave an appointment for your commute, the robocar drives to your home, picks you up, drives you to your workplace, drives away. No need for parking spaces, no need to produce nearly as many cars, and of course it would be extended to other uses, so you would always get the best car for each purpose, rather than trying to buy a car which will serve all your needs, even tose you seldom do like moving furniture or bringing home 1000 pounds of planting soil.

Me likes robocars.

Re:Bring it on (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | about 8 years ago | (#16070771)

Twice as wide?

Try 3-4 times as wide.

A robocab can be 1 passenger and if so they need only be about 3 feet wide. Since a robocab can be counted on to move in a predictable fashion I see no reason why three (3) of these little cars might occupy one of our current lanes. Then we have the issue that the Robocab's might not need to be parked. This still will leave room for another lanes with two, four and 6 ++ passenger models.

There is just so much that can be done if we have a small efficient car that moves in a predictable fashion and doesn't need to be parked for hours on end.

Huge improvemnts of efficency can be gained.

unimaginative... (1)

psichaotic (761447) | about 8 years ago | (#16070461)

if you really want people to feel you are doing something revolutionary, you need to come up with something a little better. Perhaps something along the lines of getting into some sort of pod with inertial dampeners, you climb on it and whoosh, you are flung to your destination from some sort of lacrosse net. Ok, maybe that wasnt such a hot idea Oh well there are always those wonderful space-aged tubes we seem to be so fond of... as long as we don't dump on them, of course.

that's not the only place where we need them! (1)

Desolator144 (999643) | about 8 years ago | (#16070467)

British people are always driving on the wrong side of the road so it's good if they can replace cabs with robot ones, lol. But we also need to replace every single Illinois driver with a robot because damn, those people don't know how to drive. I'm from Wisconsin btw :-D

More Roland? Jesus! (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 8 years ago | (#16070490)

What is this? The fifth or sixth Rolad story in the last 30 days? Hey Slashdot editors, good stories or bad, give OTHER people some front page space!

Re:More Roland? Jesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070524)

Relax, they're just giving him a chance to do a good one. He's getting better with practice - this isn't TOTAL crap like some of the previous tries. A couple more tries and he'll get one right. Then he'll be done.

Re:More Roland? Jesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070661)

After being the #2 submitter at 312 submissions? [] - it's still ad whoring.

Is this scary to anyone? (1)

trevor_hellman (572628) | about 8 years ago | (#16070538)

When I think of an airport, I always remember how it is impossible to walk around. Not the terminal per say, but walking from the airport to somewhere off the airport terminal. (I distinctly remember the lack of walking areas in Sacramento). Anyways, I could see something like this making it even more difficult to walk around. Maybe nobody cares anymore, but I really enjoy a walk and I would hate to see that option disappear.


Monorail be better? (1)

Mike_ya (911105) | about 8 years ago | (#16070652)

How about some sort of monorail system with several 'trains' for the airport instead of using 19 separate cars. Looking at the pictures each car holds 4 people, with luggage that would be tight, totally of 76 passengers being moved at a time. People come in by the plane load much higher volumne than what the people movers can move quickly. The cars will be 'bumper to bumper' anyway when traveling. When the transport breaks down half way to the car park then what, get out and push? Hope someone is monitoring the transports?

Already done in Malaysia (3, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | about 8 years ago | (#16070687)

At the international airport in Kualua Lumpur they have a robot train to pick up passengers and take them to another terminal. Here in Canada I felt like I was in a cattle corral with customs cowboys standing behind two way mirrors with prods ready.

This train of course runs on a set track but it does illustrate the idea.

I think this is a good development. I share the optimism of many experts who suggest we are already at or near peak oil. Currently we produce about 85 million barrels per day and at this point Saudi Aramco has admitted Ghawar is in decline up to 8% and the country as a whole is declining 2%. They join Kuwait which announced last November that Bergan is in decline. The next largest fields are Canatarrel and DaQing and these are in about a 14% decline along with Bergan.

These top four 4 feilds collectivly produce about 12-15% of the worlds conventional oils and they just illustrate the problem. Most countries and most oil fields are presently in decline.

The Jack#2 well announced by Cheveron last week may hearld in a new field potentially with 3-15 billion barrels. If so then this feild may be able to produce 750,000 barrels per day by the 2010-2015 time frame.

By 2015 if we subscribe to the idea that we're going to lose 5% production per year from the current 85 million barrels produced per day, then by 2015 we'll be short well over 15 million barrels of Oil per day (BOPD) of production compared to today. Tar Sands may add 2.2 million BOPD or even more. The Cheveron/Devon discovery may add almost another 1 million. But 85-85*(0.95^10) is a loss of 31 million BOPD and thus with this rough rough calculation I've already factored in everything we are likely going to be able to do and still some.

The bottom line is we need to cut consumption in a big way and the sooner the better. A HUGE percentage of the liquid fuels consummed, especially in the USA, is totally wasted. SUV"s sit six (6) abreast in grid lock traffic with their stereos cranked up and their air conditioners blasting. If we were to factor in the waste of people's lives - spending hours commuting to a job that may amount to little more than beauracratic paper shuffling, this alone might be considered the crime of the century.

But what we are doing to our planet and our future is even worse. All of that fuel wasted while commuting (often 1 person to a truck) is not available for useful purposes like industrial, chemical feedstocks, or by farmers to produce food.

Robocabs, if they are fuel efficient and small and sized for the job are an obvious answer.

Currently the USA burns over 20 million barrels of oil per day. If we get the SUV's off the road and replace them with a "Jonny cab" (from Total Recall - its a RoboCab) then we save lives because we get stupid drivers away from behind the wheel, we cut commuting time because the commute can be organised in a far more efficient manner than just plain old grid lock, and we might save enough fuel to save our precious butts in the process.

The thing is this fuel crisis is likely to be fully recognised as the beginning of a fundamental change to the human condition by 2010. Its still a few months to a few years off. Oil prices in the $70 range are the harbinger of things to come. We're ok for a short while. Next year we might not be so lucky.

Re:Already done in Malaysia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070760)

Not only is commuting a waste...why can't we have cargo public transportation, which would send goods you buy online, in local shops, to your doors within an hour or so (instead of you having to get into your SUV and drive to the mall and back for a 20 pounds of goods), or even supply stores. It would be less expensive for businesses not to own underutilised delivery vehicles if there was a comercial "city bus line" or even a cargo subway trains circling around. Of course, loading and unloading must be authomatic and much much faster then today.

Re:Already done in Malaysia (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | about 8 years ago | (#16070780)

Excellent IDEA.

A pneumatic tube transport might work. These are used in Factories but if tubes are built large enought to hold your average grocery bag and large enought to hold a case of wine or a case of beer - then one could simply order it up and its dropped in the tube and a computer delivers it to your abode.

A well desgined system could move the product fast enough that the beer would still be cold by the time your domestic robot receives it and puts it in the fridge for you.

This would give a whole new meaning to the idea of ordering some beer and a Pizza.

Re:Already done in Malaysia (1)

8ball629 (963244) | about 8 years ago | (#16070846)

This is already done in... most airports I've been to in the US as far as connecting terminals as you stated.

It really doesn't seem like much of an advancement in technology to me or even something to feature anywhere. It looks like all they are is a small, automated monorail.

Robocops (1)

Universal Indicator (626874) | about 8 years ago | (#16070723)

Glancing over it quickly, I thought it said robocops! I could just imagine them catching computer viruses and creating deadly "bot-nets" heh

Simulated driver (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 years ago | (#16070788)

So are they gonna pipe in mid-eastern music, garlic smells, and strange bead thingies dangling from the mirrors to give it the real cabbie ambiance?

Re:Simulated driver (2, Insightful)

cdn-programmer (468978) | about 8 years ago | (#16070842)

So are they gonna pipe in mid-eastern music, garlic smells, and strange bead thingies dangling from the mirrors to give it the real cabbie ambiance?

Probably not. If you listen to "Time" by ELO, they'll probably make the driver a red head, blonde or brunette depending on your taste and probably track your preference. She'll have a sweet voice and will not be inclined to argue. Next she will be just the right blend of demanding but nice. You can paraphrase this to mean "Stimulating".

Alas, as the say in the song - She might be perfect "But she isn't IBM".

Since I use an IBM PC 101 KB I know the tactile feel of something from IBM. There is nothing more pleasant on the planet. Now if IBM would slip the VM technology of the MainFrames into my little 'puter so I have full virtualization and can run several Linux and OpenBSD operating systems along with the winders (ugg) stuff - then I would fall in love.

I had to put up with a very nicely engineered and very expensive NEC special order KB for a number of years until I managed to lay my pinkies on the IBM KB. I use to love the song by ELO and now I know why.

IMHO the technology of yester-year will not be able to match the joys that await us. Hense I always tell anyone not too familiar with a computer or new thechnology that "Great Joy's await you!"

Uh oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16070804)

Never go for a ride in Release 1.0.

RoboCop (1)

8ball629 (963244) | about 8 years ago | (#16070832)

I can see it now - robot taxi drivers.

After defeating OCP and preventing the Delta City project from happening, Murphy (RoboCop) decided to settle down and become a taxi driver in Europe. He never realized that he would be competing with other retired robots for fares such as Optimus Prime and #5.

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me."

Ultimately, most people go with RoboCop.

Personal rapid transit - not robocabs (1)

Master Of Ninja (521917) | about 8 years ago | (#16070845)

I can't believe that the summary didn't include the above title. Personal rapid transit (PRT) [] is what people have been calling it for years, and is slightly different from the "robocabs" (think total recall) that it has been described as. The PRT system seems like an excellent solution for urban mobility from reading the articles on wikipedia, but it looks like there might need to be some heavy investment first. It's a good idea to check the wikipedia article (and the links of it) at t [] .

Hope! (1)

NexFlamma (919608) | about 8 years ago | (#16070935)

I'm hoping this project is wonderfully succesful.

If they can make a system of automatically piloted vehicles within the ancient, twisted roads of Europe, it would be almost effortless to convert a similar system to the (comparatively) modern roads of America. Given our vast stretches of highway, an automated system could make long distance road travel less expensive and almost as effortless as train or even plane travel.

And your car probably wouldn't want to inspect your shoes before you get in either.

mod do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16071012)

for it. I don't bllodfarts. FrreBSD windows, SUN or

4 kms (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 8 years ago | (#16071016)

The fact that the car park is 4kms from the terminal building tells you all you need to know about Europe.
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