Saturday, May 28, 2011

Super Bus to hit the Road at 155 Mph...

Dutch design team includes Dutch astronaut who worked on Challenger

The seven-year project has so far cost 11.5million. Buses have never been the most glamorous form of transportation. But that is set to change with the Superbus, a 15ft-long, six-wheeled behemoth that on first glance looks like a cross between the Batmobile and a (very) stretched limousine. Aerodynamic and luxurious, it can carry 23 passengers and reach speeds of up to 155mph (255kph), although finding a parking space might prove difficult.


Luxury: The 15ft-long Superbus can carry 23 passengers and reach speeds of up to 155mph


Futuristic: The Superbus has six wheels, including two pairs of rear wheels that can turn independently, thereby reducing its turning radius


A design team from TU Delft University, including former Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels, once a mission specialist on the Challenger, has unveiled the Superbus at the World Exhibition of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in Dubai.

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As long as a standard city bus, the Superbus has two pairs of rear wheels that can turn independently, thereby reducing its turning radius. The low vehicle has 12 gull-wing doors that allow passenger access to cushioned wide seats.

Batmobile? The sleek long vehicle is constructed with super-light carbon fibre materials, it is powered by an electric motor backed up by lithium polymer batteries


Pride and joy: Former Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels was a member of the Superbus design team




Mr Ockels said: 'The strength to the concept is that the Superbus can drive everywhere where a normal bus can drive. 'It has adjustable height, rear-wheel steering and a turning circle of roughly 10metres.'

The project began in 2004 and has so far cost around 11.5million ($19 million). And with chief design engineer Antonia Terzi, who used to work for the BMW-Williams F1 team, onboard it comes as no surprise that it is also capable of travelling safely at high speeds.

The aerodynamic exterior also makes the vehicle more energy efficient. The interior is equally impressive, with air bags fitted for each passenger and television and Internet access. If the Superbus passes government inspections in the United Arab Emirates, the developers said it is likely to go into service there.


Slick: The low vehicle has 12 gull-wing doors that allow passenger access to cushioned wide seats.


The Superbus prototype is loaded onto a cargo plane at Schiphol Airport for transportation to the World Exhibition of the International Association of Public Transport in Dubai.