Who's Steering This Thing? Magnetic Bus Makes its Debut

By Andrew Moseman | September 9, 2008 11:04 am

busIf you ever thought driving the same bus route over and over would be a boring job, just imagine if you weren’t even steering.

University of California, Berkeley researchers ran the first public test of their magnetically-steered bus system last week on a public street in San Leandro, Calif. While a human driver controlled braking and acceleration, a series of magnets embedded in the road guided the bus along its route. With the driving out of human hands, the scientists say, the bus runs its route more efficiently than ever—effortlessly pulling up to within a finger’s width of the curb to allow passengers easy access.

The magnets have to be placed a yard or so apart, running down the middle of the traffic land. And while giving away control of the bus to a mechanical system might be too much for some people, it’s not much different than the tracks that guide a light rail system, Berkeley scientist Han-Shue Tan says. Tan and colleagues hope that making the bus more efficient will lure more people to give up driving and take public transit.

It’s a noble goal—just make sure to buy more vehicles. There’s nothing worse than an overcrowded bus.

Image: flickr/Pro-Zak

MORE ABOUT: magnets, transportation
  • Pingback: The Future of Sustainable Cities | 4 entrepreneur()

  • tom evans

    why not a magnetic system in the street to control the power in caRS AS WELL. MAKE the cars and buses and cabs maGNETIC LIKE THE WEDWAY PEOPLE MOVER ATdisney world in florida.gps could control routing ,radar could control speed and distaNCE FROM OTHER TRAFFIC.this system would eliminate polution and triffic accidents

  • http://www.eggcratemattresspads.org/ Egg Crate Mattress

    I don’t care for this idea at all and wouldn’t want to be on the same street as one of these magnetic buses.

  • Pingback: focus acne()

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »