Gurgaon, home to Indian headquarters of multi-national organizations like Google, Microsoft and Apple, is mulling over the idea of driverless electric pods in order to give some relief to the people of New Delhi from the crazy traffic of the city.
This project is currently being tested on a small scale, and when completed, is expected to connect the Delhi border to the interior regions of Gurgaon. This would mean connecting up to 16 stations over the span of 13 km. These driverless pods are planned to be suspended from overhead rails, and will be running at regular intervals.
The average speed of the pods is thought to be 60 km/h and they will have the capacity to transport between five to six commuters at a time. This project is estimated to carry 30,000 passengers per day, at a cost of approximately Rs 8.5 billion ($126 million) set up value. This is somewhat lesser than what it would cost to create a metro network on the same track.
The Government of India is searching for bidders at the moment, and hopes that that this project will alleviate the major traffic problem on the National Highway-8 connecting Delhi to Gurgaon.
This project – although seemingly good to go – brings back the sore memories of a similar elevated pod transport project announced back in 2011 for the city of Amritsar. It was eventually abandoned in 2014 after failing to fight severe criticism from the locals, political rivals and heritage lovers. Also, it was disclosed that the project was financially unviable.
These kinds of personal rapid transport system have been tested at many locations around the globe, but never on such a mighty scale. The oldest example of this is at Morgantown, West Virginia. Smaller pod networks are being used at the likes Masdar City business park in the UAE, London’s Heathrow airport and at Suncheon, South Korea.
Here’s a video showing the driverless pods operating at the Heathrow Airport, London.
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