There are presently six Higherway vehicles in preliminary design, the Baz, Owl, Pelican, Pheasant, Quail, and Dove. There will be other vehicles for specific purposes later, especially for guideway maintenance (inspection, tree trimming, cleaning and painting). All the vehicles have a maximum cruising speed of 45 meters/second (100 mph) and are streamlined to reduce aerodynamic drag. All passengers and cargo should be restrained.
Baz (Hebrew for falcon) is a carrier vehicle. It can carry the Owl cargo pod, Pelican wheelchair pod, Pheasant and Quail skyhook dualmode vehicles. Because it automatically mates and demates with the pods and vehicles it has automatic alignment and communications with them. Some features are:
Owl carries two pallets (1 m x 1.2m each) with cargo. It will have rollers and belts for automatic loading and unloading. The maximum cargo mass (design goal) is 500 kg, with a gross vehicle weight (including the Baz) of less than one ton (900 kg). It will be the largest and heaviest of the pods, and a design driver for the guideway. As you can see from the drawings below it will have four sliding doors. Not shown are the automatic cargo restraint nets and locking devices to hold it securely to the dock while loading and unloading.
Pelican is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and carries a person in a wheelchair or baby carriage, bicycle, shopping cart, large packages plus one adult human or dog or monkey. There will be two fold-down kiddie seats so that a mother and two babies or toddlers can travel with a baby carriage (Babies and toddlers cannot ride in the baby carriage on the Pelican, they must be restrained in the backward-facing kiddie seats). It will have automatic restraints for the wheelchair and person in the wheelchair. The Pelican has a front door for wheelchairs to back into and a side door for pedestrians. It is designed to satisfy the Americans with Disabilities Act and be no bigger or heavier than the Owl.
Pheasant is for those whose origin
and destination are 0.5 to 10 km from a stop. It is battery powered to
run on city streets but is carried by a Baz on the
guideway. It is designed to not exceed the weight and size of the Owlwhen
on the guideway. It carries one licensed driver and one passenger. The
wheels raise to reduce aerodynamic drag when a Baz carrys
it. Wheel shields will extend when the wheels retract to protect
pedestrians underneath the guideway from falling ice or dirt
clods. Pheasant has cooperative automatic alignment and communications with
The general size and layout of the Pheasant are similar to the Volkswagen 1 Liter and the Bertone Slim, but it will not have an internal combustion engine. Another similar vehicle is the Commuter Cars Tango, which is battery powered. In very narrow vehicles it is important for stability to keep the center of mass low. Tango achieves this by placing the batteries as low as possible, while the 1-Liter and Slim put the people and engines low. Pheasant will have the batteries and people low.
There is currently no plan to provide for charging the batteries while the Pheasant is on the guideway, as some other dualmode systems do. The reason for this is the added cost and increased failure modes from the power interface to the Baz and the relatively short time that the Pheasant will be on the guideway. We believe it is better to charge the batteries during the long times that the Pheasant is parked.
Quail is for those whose origin and
destination are 0.5 to 10 km from a stop. It is battery powered to run
on city streets but is carried by a Baz on the guideway. It is designed to not exceed the weight and
size of the Owl when on the guideway. It has three
wheels which retract like aircraft landing gear when on the guideway. It
has cooperative automatic alignment and communications with the Baz.
It carries one licensed driver. A somewhat similar recent
production vehicle is the Corbin Sparrow,
which is battery powered and carries one driver.
Dove carries two people. It is designed for low life cycle cost. Because the gross weight of the Dove passenger pod is less than half the weight of the pods carried by the Baz, each Dove has its own permanently attached carrier vehicle which is the approximate size of the Baz but is lighter and cheaper. There are automatic passenger restraints which engage when the doors close.
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This page last updated June 1, 2003