The Katric is a conceptual people mover operating on maglev tracks. This concept for a driverless electric vehicle aims to change how professionals in large cities travel from one place to another during the work day.
A few years ago, I went to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida with my boys. While there, we rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, promoted as an urban mass transit system of the future. The Katric is a vision for a revamped version of this concept applied to business professionals working in cities with a population exceeding three million.
How It Works
The Katric works like a driverless car, but it rides on a one-way track that takes you around the city’s business district. It works on the same principle as a maglev train, which uses magnets to lift and propel vehicles, but it carries only two passengers. It takes its energy (electricity) from the tracks, and it’s an autonomous vehicle, so you don’t need to drive it; you simply signal it when you want to stop.
The Katric is shaped like a transparent egg. It has two automatic butterfly wing doors and it rests on four magnetic skis that also act as its suspension. You would be able to summon a Katric by walking towards a pick-up point (like a cab). Units would be stationed at different locations around the city based on a traffic-predicting algorithm.
The downside with such a system is the fact that it’s one way, and the magnetic track makes it harder to pull off its route to make a drop off. One way to deal with that would be to educate users to quickly disembark the vehicle using both sides and charge them an extra fee if they take more than 10 seconds.
To save time, there would be no luggage compartment, so you would be able to bring small personal belongings (like a briefcase, laptop, or carry-on) but not bulky luggage. The idea is not to attract families but to ferry business people efficiently during the day.
The Katric transportation authority (KTA) would charge its users an annual fee to become a member. This way the operators would be able to absorb fixed costs. To cover the variable cost, the travelers would pay on a time basis. It seems awkward to say it, but you would pay by the second. The KTA could operate as a cooperative.
What It’s Used For
I see the Katric as a specialised vehicle built for professionals. They would use this to hop on from the train or subway station and go directly to their office tower. They would also use it to attend meetigs, go out shopping during the day or attend an event downtown after work. Stations could be built next to large office towers and city malls or integrated inside new buildings.
I would like to thank Adolfo Esquivel who created the renderings of the Katric. Adolfo earned an Industrial design degree from Colombia and completed postgraduate study on events design at the UQAM of Montreal. He currently works as a senior industrial designer for Geyco Design. Adolfo also created the design of the Roswell FS-II flying saucer concept and the Sea-Bull wakesurf competition boat.