In order to reduce traffic in the big cities in the future, drastic measures have to be taken. According to recent observations, electric cars are purchased as second cars. This does not significantly contribute to the relief of the environment and the cities.
More sustainable are therefore new concepts that send autonomously driving “people movers” on the road, which get along without drivers and intelligently communicate with each other. The minibuses are electrically driven and put in the best case on a fuel cell drive.
Protean Electric has unveiled an electric bus with a new kind of 360-degree steering. This makes the mover particularly unique and agile in the sometimes quite tight city traffic.
The shunting miracle
The self-propelled electric bus from Protean Electric is equipped with wheel hub motors and can thus perform 360-degree steering maneuvers. The Protean Electric 360 can not only maneuver in the smallest of spaces, but also drive into very small parking spaces by simply adjusting the wheels, which are barely larger than the electric bus.
And this is how it works in practice
At each of the four wheels an electric motor is attached. Thanks to the integrated pneumatic suspension, the Protean electric bus can be lowered when getting in and out. Older people, wheelchair users or people with a disability can thus better reach the inside of the bus. Although the Protean Electric 360 is a minibus, each of the four electric motors releases 107 horsepower.
That is remarkable. So far, the Protean Electric 360 is still a concept. After all, no bus driver is scheduled anymore. The whole thing should work this way in the future: The agile buses are intelligently networked with each other. Per app potential riders can make their request.
The minibus, which is just nearby, heads for the destination and should reach it within a few minutes. Due to the very high frequency, it is therefore advantageous if the minibus does not take minutes to maneuver in tight parking bays. The market for such minibuses will increase in the future.
At first, China was already showing great interest in the Protean Electric 360. In Germany, such “people movers” are likely to be used at short notice by larger companies to drive employees around the grounds. Even fairs would be already suitable. The Protean Electric 360 is also a bit reminiscent of the self-propelled electric bus Olli from Deutsche Bahn.
Self-driving buses since 2016 already in traffic
Self-driving electric buses are used in road traffic in Singapore, Greece, Helsinki and the Netherlands. The tests have proven to be successful, so that nothing stands in the way of expanding the road networks of the future.
In this country, autonomous driving is generally still being viewed with great skepticism. It takes confidence in the small minicomputers that control autonomous vehicles to give technology a chance. In any case, it will be interesting to see how the change in traffic will take place over the next few years.