Gemini

The concept

The Gemini is a twin-deck, electric driverless bus designed to travel on elevated concrete tracks as well as on existing city streets. It’s equipped with 4WD wheel motors, and it is capable of steering with all of its wheels. The Gemini can accommodate up to 30 passengers, and it can recharge itself on the move by riding on specially designed modular tracks that would be installed over the middle curb of city boulevards.

The background

In 1985, a division of Bombardier transportation called ‘BN’ developed an interesting transit system called the Guided Light Transport (GLT).  It looked like a tramway on tires, and it used a surface guidance system.  In normal operation, it was powered by electricity drawn from an overhead wire (Pantograph). The main difference from a normal tram was that it rode on rubber tyres, not on rails.

How it works

It could also be steered and operated independently of the guidance rail by using auxiliary diesel engines. The GLT project and the newer TVR version made me think about the Gemini concept. It would feature a twin-deck design like London’s famous buses, it would use dedicated elevated tracks, but it could also be flexible enough to leave those tracks and ride on city streets.

The Gemini would be equipped with large, panoramic windows. If you are commuting, why not profit from the view and get inspired? It’s also less depressing then sitting in a bus with small windows. The Gemini’s 30 commuters could include three wheel chairs. It would ride on new, elevated tracks built in the middle and over urban boulevards. These new elevated roads made of modular concrete sections would not reduce the size of existing streets since they would be high enough to let underneath traffic pass through. They would also be able to support lighting, communication, and electric cables. Most of importantly, they would include induction charging plates to recharge the Gemini while it’s in motion.

The 4WD and four-wheel steering Gemini would draw its power from automatic inductive power transfer switches embedded in the elevated track. It would be able to leave the track and ride on existing city streets by using the stored energy in its battery packs. With its electric motors, the Gemini would be silent and eco friendly. It could also alter its course and pick you up on a nearby street, similar to the Otobuxi concept. It would feature radar and pedestrian airbags to reduce accidents or injuries. It would be a new kind of vehicle that would fill the gap between the Metro and the Bus.

What it’s used for

In my opinion, it’s time to introduce electric buses in our cities. Those new buses will need to recharge, and I think induction charging system like the one proposed by Primove are a good way to go. Building elevated tracks on existing boulevards would also prevent us from blocking existing car lanes. It would be a good way to install new induction charging systems without altering or disturbing existing infrastructure. It would also be possible to offset the cost of installing the system by sharing it with utility companies and using the side wall as added space for marketing.

The designer

I would like to thank Xavier Gordillo who created the images of the Chipmunk concept. Xavier studied Car Design at Europe Design Institute (IED) and he works as a Freelance Industrial Designer.

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