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Getting on the right track with the OU Choose Your Way concept


March 2, 2011

2:1 Industrial Design proposes laying tracks on existing roadways and creating a novel electric vehicle to help deal with congestion in towns and cities throughout Brazil

2:1 Industrial Design proposes laying tracks on existing roadways and creating a novel electric vehicle to help deal with congestion in towns and cities throughout Brazil

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Like many other regions of the world, Brazil has a transport congestion problem. Once seen as a city issue, traffic jams have spread to smaller and smaller towns. The designers of the OU concept propose a possible solution where existing roadways have rails installed and drivers of specially kitted-out vehicles can join road trains to flow through otherwise congested areas at a constant pace. The electric OU vehicle's wheels would operate in either an open configuration – for normal driving – or closed, for rail travel.

The OU concept is another example from the pool of 34 designs chosen by judges from the Michelin Challenge Design to be shown at the recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

It was conceived by a collection of designers who have been working together since 2008, and formed the 2:1 - Industrial Design company in April 2009. Noting that motorcycle sales in Brazil have been steadily increasing in recent years, reflecting a need for flexible travel options, the team decided to attack the problem of city traffic congestion by using existing transport infrastructures.

The OU concept ("OU" means "or" in Portuguese) proposes installing rails along existing roadways in areas where traffic jams regularly spring up. The electric OU vehicle would have a wheel configuration that could be changed between closed-wheel drive for driving on the track and open-wheel for everywhere else. The driver could then choose to join a railed traffic flow system, where the vehicles would move smoothly through city streets like giant shoals of fish, or to drive independently.

Such a vehicle could be bought whole or rented, but the designers also see the wheel structure being made available for installation on existing vehicles. Unlike the SARTRE road train model, the driver would retain control of the vehicle at all times, although the necessary activation of a SYNC mode would control such things as vehicle spacing and speed while moving along the rails.

As an added bonus to the driver, the vehicle's batteries could receive charge while traveling along the rail. The designers also suggest the development of new tire technology which would use a nano-material to adapt to different driving conditions – providing more grip and less friction in dry weather and increasing tread during wet conditions.

So what do you think? Just another well-intentioned bogus idea, or a workable solution to ease traffic congestion problems the world over? Let us know via the comments.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

\"Resistance is futile\": If you include latency (wait times), current traffic systems probably run at 35mph average, and aren\'t scaleable (or maintainable) at reasonable cost. A rail based constant speed system (of some sort) with cars that have \"last mile\" capability addresses this. Vehicle weight needs to scale down to be workable (lesser crash protection required). Suggested many times in various forms.. w/o social acceptance and gov. promotion, it will never happen (willingly).


Briliant idea! is better that European system, but is harder to implement -requires a more extended hardware. But if far more efficient, and brought to a total development, it woud be ideal for urban traffic.

Dan Vasii

All the insights about the theme are wellcome. So, congratulations for 2 :1 Design. Many Enterprises are concerned about the issue. Nissan sets its insight with EPORO, Honda is studying the synergy between robotics and vehicles and is advanced with ASIMO. Personally I believe that in 30 years we will still using traditional transport means, but with advanced sensors that prevent any collisions between vehicles. However, 50 or 60 years later, we will begin to change the road systems that have existed for over 2,000 years, and we will abandon the conventional vehicle supported by wheel by the electromagnetism levitation system. In 100 years, the panorama of architecture of the cities will have changed and the streets and avenues will be electromagnetic, nothing wich will remind the current streets and avenues of cement and asphalt. The expected demographic trends for the next 50 years will force a radical change of the means of individual and collective transport. I believe that any actual study of transport should predict the growth of population and extensive use of electronics, electromagnetism and the removal of wheels and tires on vehicles of the future. But I think viable solutions to the current conditions of chaos in city traffic is a middle way that will help us achieve this very different future for vehicles and transit.


What happen when the system breakdown? How long will they be able to fix it? Will it affect the other roads/rails-like system? How much will it cost to build the rail system? How do you create an incentive for people to buy and use this kind of car? Will you use the standard regulation to enforce that? If so, that will certainly limit the freedom and reduce compeition (certianly not all companies want to invest in this). I think the answers to this questions should be answered first before looking to build this project.

Lim Wannaphahoon

Hi all,

thats Peter MAskus concept called ACABION..... google that. http://web1.acabion.ibone.ch/acabion-flash-english.com/

Geomagic GmbH Business Manager Europe, Middle East and Africa Gerd Schwaderer Stuttgart, Germany Tel. 49 178 77 67 887 www.geomagic.com europe@geomagic.com XING group optical measurement https://www.xing.com/net/dssp


Heeeyyyyy!!!!!! Where is my personal flying device? My flying car? When a trip to Mars will cost as much as a seven days-five stars-cruise?

Dan Vasii

The present design could not work: the backweels of the front car block themovement of the frontweels of the car in back. also what if one person wants to get out? does the whole train have to stop and wait. and how do the two prts catch up?

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