June 5, 2007 [Link]
testing in Uppsala
"We have built up the text track during the fall of 2005 and the spring 2006 in order to test the basic functions, such as braking and accelerating as safe, smooth and silent as possible," says Project Leader Ulf Larsson of Transrail.
"Is this tiny little PRT cab the future of transportation?" asks Lasse Linusson [LL], the TV reporter. "Yes, this is what Vectus believes, who invests about 100M kronor (US$14M)."
"This is really a great joy and to have been able to design the system, and to see the system in operation," says Miss Yeon-Yoon Choi, Assistant Project Leader of Vectus Ltd.
LL: The vehicle is so far running with a chassis only. The final vehicle is under construction in Great Britain.
"Our focus is to get the ready vehicle as soon a possible, but it is even more important to ensure that the vehicle works properly, before they send it over to Uppsala; otherwise we will have to return it. We hope this to occur within a short period of time anyway," says Mr. Ulf Larsson.
LL: At the test site in Uppsala, a station building is now under construction. In a ready PRT system, the passenger orders a cab, enters the station within a minute or so, and then takes off from the station with the vehicle to reach his/her destination station without any driver. The small cabs with 4-5 passengers are built to run on the track with only a few seconds headway.
LL: What is it that you want to examine with this test project?
"We would like to verify the technology, and we want this system to be safe and function well. This has now been proven, and we have learnt a lot during our tests. Now we are waiting for the second vehicle to be delivered," says Miss Yeon-Yoon Choi.
LL: From an environmental point-of-view, the project is of utmost interest. No fossil fuels are used at the site. From an economic point of-view, the goal is to build a system that is cheaper than today's bus network. And at last, how unique is this PRT system? Driverless, Automated People Movers (APMs) are actually already in operation.
"Driverless systems exist, but the uniqueness of this PRT system, is that you as a passenger can walk down to a station, catch an individual vehicle to go to a station you wish to reach, without waiting for other passengers. This has not been tested in this way before," says Mr. Ulf Larsson.
Translated by Mr. Göran Tegnér, WSP Analysis & Strategies