The Narotram is a narrow electric urban transit vehicle designed to scout along smaller city streets. This driverless bus / tramway could accommodate up to 12 passengers and recharge itself on the move by activating wireless recharging pads along its route.
The Narotram is a variation of the Otobuxi, Gemini and Pixi mass transit vehicle concepts I have imagined over the last two years. I think there will be increased demand for vehicles capable of ferrying passengers living in densely populated neighbourhoods, and the automated Narotram could shuttle those passengers to conventional bus routes or subway stations.
How It Works
The Narotram would be approximately 4 feet wide (maybe even less) and long enough to accommodate two rows of six standing passengers. Metal poles positioned along the center of the tram would strengthen the frame and give the passengers something to hold on to.
A panoramic roof would protect the users from the sun and rain (Although not completely) but the sides of the Narotram would remain open to make it easier to hop on and off the vehicle. This vehicle would not be accessible with a wheelchair, and it would be aimed at a younger crowd, capable of easily climbing aboard while it’s moving slowly, which is the tricky part.
I think the Narotram should ride along the streets and pick up passengers without really stopping completely. It would slow down when someone would approach it to climb onboard, but it would not stop. Of course the speed of the Narotram would not be as fast as a city bus for safety reasons, but you would use it for shorter rides since it would be designed to bring you to the nearest bus stop or subway station.
The 4WD and four-wheel steering Narotram would draw its power from automatic inductive power transfer switches embedded below the street. It would also be capable of leaving its route to drive on any city street by using stored energy in its battery packs. With its electric motors, the Narotram would be silent and eco friendly.
The Narotram would also feature front pedestrian airbags like the ones proposed on the Gemini as an additional safety measure. The payment system would simply detect your phone and charge you for the ride. The payment would definitely need to be a seamless operation to make it attractive to a new crowd of public transit users.
What It’s Used For
If you’ve ever travelled around the world, you have probably witnessed a lot of different modes of transportations. Some are downright dangerous, while others are clever but a little more intimidating than what we are used to.
If a Narotram passed on my street every few minutes to bring me to the nearest subway station, I would definitely use it. I could also start walking towards my office and hop on a few Narotrams along the way.
If the fact that it doesn’t stop bothers you, it could stop at every street corner. The real improvements here are the fact that it’s narrow, it’s designed to cover even densely populated city streets, it’s driverless, it’s electric, and it features a transparent payment system.
I would like to thank Adolfo Esquivel for the great renderings of the Narotram. 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 freelance industrial designer based in Montreal. Adolfo also created the design of the Jacknife shape-changing car and the Otöcon border patrol drone.