Rail News

German Mobility Award Winner CountryCab – Gyro-Stabilised Monocabs

Every year the initiative ‘Germany – Country of Ideas’ and the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) honour digital ideas and innovations for sustainable transport. Transport minister Andreas Scheuer presented the German Mobility Award 2018 to the 13 winners in Berlin on 13 November 2018.

Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said:

“We need ideas for how we can make our mobility more efficient, cleaner and more digital. The prize winners who are receiving awards today are not talking about distant future scenarios. They are all already acting. Their ideas are bringing about improvements that have an immediate impact – by using the opportunities of digitalisation to make unrestricted mobility possible.”

The competition consists of two phases: a best-practice phase and an ideas competition. The winners of the ideas competition were announced today. The motto they were given was ‘Thinking digital: your vision for local transport”.

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CountryCab – Gyro-stabilised Monocabs

One of this year’s winners was CountryCab, an idea conceived of by Thorsten Försterling. The idea is as follows: the historical single-track railway line between Lemgo and Extertal in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia could be used by gyro-stabilised monocabs that would run in constant on-demand circulation akin to a paternoster lift. Passengers could book their cab for their trip into the village or town.

German Mobility Award Winner CountryCab
German Mobility Award Winner CountryCab © BMVI

CountryCab combines the idea of a monocab with autonomous driving, a historical railway line, a charitable business, a regional network, gyro-stabilisation technology and the concept of the paternoster as a mode of transport in rural areas. The monocabs would balance on a single rail. This would be made possible thanks to gyroscopes, which maintain their location in space, resisting movement away from their rotational axis. Gyroscopes are used in many devices to stabilise them, such as compasses, spacecraft and Segways.

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As these monocabs would balance on just one rail, the single-track line between the two destinations could accommodate two-way traffic. Passengers could book a journey via an app, just as they would call a taxi. The monocab will be controlled autonomously for the passenger. There will also be sensors on the tracks and movement data for master control of the cab. These monocabs would be in service for 24 hours on 365 days a year. More cabs would be put on the line during peak times, fewer at night.

The CountryCab idea is part of the SMART RAILWAY project portfolio run by Landeseisenbahn Lippe e.V. A real benefit of this project is that this line is available and ready for use.

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German Mobility Award Winner CountryCab
Ceremony for the German Mobility Award 2018 in Berlin: CountryCab © BMVI

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