Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The Serpentine system: a new way of mobility

Intermediate means of transport for short and average distances, with reduced speed but high frequency, the Serpentine system constitutes mainly an interface between the place of origin and the stations of big metropolitan or interurban means of transportation. Besides this main utilitarian function, let us not forget that the playful aspect of the Serpentine capsules also makes it a means of transport perfectly adapted to places and to tourist circuits.

The electrification of the road is used for energy transmission to the capsules, constituting the MagnétoGlisseur ® track. The energy transmission system serves also of data carrier, thanks to which the system of management can administer in real time the offer of capsules according to the demand and to its previous origin - destinations.

Considering the choice of a speed of relatively weak traffic of 15 kph on average, capsules, of a capacity of 4 persons with luggage, can evolve in opened sky and in mixed site. The risk of accident is very small and the reduced speed is compensated with very short waiting times in station.

The automatic functioning of the capsules reduces considerably the costs of exploitation. It should supply a friendly solution to relieve congestion in the heart of cities. The flexibility of use can also redirect it on the transportation of goods, notably in the big industrial areas.

The results of the development and the analyses show that, on one hand, the transmission of energy and the guidance by MagnétoGlisseur ®, object of a patent, allow to obtain returns superior to 90 % and that it is, on the other hand, possible to conceive a very narrow, but stable capsule in the wind, and a platform loosened for the luggage, cycles or handicapped persons' vehicles. The quays of Ouchy retained as site for the realization of a first section, lend themselves to such an experimental project. The studies show that 10 capsules are enough to satisfy the demand for this place with average waiting times in station lower than one minute.

A classic battery-driven vehicle uses as source of energy a kit of batteries suffering several handicaps such as an important mass, a strong limitation of the autonomy, important costs and relatively long time of load. The system of transport Serpentine includes several original technical aspects the combination with more classic elements of which makes of it an innovative system.

The Serpentine system is made of three main components: The capsules, allowing to transport up to 5 passengers, the Magnetoglisseur track, allowing energy transmission and automatic guidance and the traffic management system.

Serpentine capsules were found to be user-friendly but well endowed with a system of extremely reliable safety both in the constructive characteristics and in the embedded equipment. The overall and average energy consumption is about 30 times less than a traditional car (600Wh).

The automatic management of the Serpentine system by the Traffic Manager HB® allows to adapt cadences to the most variable requirements, and offers other perspectives of uses in airports, seaports or big industrial complexes for example. It takes care also of all the aspects of user interface.

The MagnetoGlisseur® infrastructure allows a control of the side and longitudinal location of capsules with a precision about 1cm. Furthermore, the function of transmission of energy allows an availability of the capsules 24 hours a day, every day in the year.

The Municipality of Lausanne, Switzerland, ordered the company CN Serpentine Ltd a track of demonstration located on Ouchy's quays. The purpose is to demonstrate the global feasibility of the Serpentine system and more particularly the transmission of energy, the automatic guidance and the global management system. A track of 270 meters with active alimentations was developed.

A transformer converts the energy of the network in a tension of 240V continuous. Generators installed in the track feed reels with a frequency of 80kHz. Under the capsule, two primary reels are permanently engaged. The reel of the secondary gets energy, which is converted then distributed on the four batteries plug. Two sensors, situated in front, define the axial and lateral position of the capsule. Information is administered with a regulator that drives the wheels by software differential.

As well the management system as the capsule itself are administered by means of computer network. The capsules and the management system are connected on a wireless computer network. At present, the 1st stage of this pilot-plant was realized. Continuation and public exploitation of this first realization are in expectation of a license of the Federal Office of Transport and the Federal Office of Roads.

To conclude; the force of the Serpentine system lies in a coherent integration of all the levels of a public transportation system, from the vehicle paths network management to the embedded safety sensors.

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