For passenger vehicles, trying to navigate around public transportation can be frustrating. Buses tend to take aggressive approaches to merging with traffic, move slowly, and can obstruct a driver’s line of sight. Chinese engineers believe they’ve found a solution: a bus that cars can drive under.
China was planning on building a bus that drove over cars on the roadway, but now they are actually testing a working model. The giant bus platform can drive over two lanes of traffic while carrying passengers in a lounge-type setting above. Straddling the roadway enables the bus to cut past traffic. Also helps to eliminate congestion at the same time. An overhead bus system is far cheaper than a subway system. But these preliminary tests will prove the viability of the endeavor.
Launching the first prototype
The launch of the first working prototype comes as a surprise to some since the vehicle concept was first announced only a few months ago. Called the TEB-1, the elevated bus is a world first, and many congested cities may start seeing these machines if these initial tests go well. Clearance under the bus is 6.5 feet, which allows for most car and van traffic to slip underneath, while semis and other larger vehicles will have to drive around, according to Tech Insider.
The proof-of-concept demonstration was held Tuesday, August 2, in the city of Qinhuangdao, where the bus lumbered slowly along a 1000-foot track.
While there appear to be questions about how well the TEB handles turns—and how cars will be able to safely navigate them while under the machine—engineers expect TEB to be on the road within the next 18 months.
The vehicle will operate on a specific route, much like a trolley. Throughout the route, there will be charging stations placed to give a boost to the bus if it happens to run low on energy. The inside can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and also is far more spacious than any bus design before it.