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Bus, tram, or both?

Bus, tram, or both?

Articulated Civis is 18.5m long and carries 110-120 passengers. Below, wheel-mounted electric motors replace drive shafts, saving weight and permitting a low, flat floor.

Blending the flexibility of a bus with the benefits of a tram, the Renault Matra "Civis" eliminates expensive infrastructure. Its Euro 3 diesel engine drives an electric generator, which powers motors mounted in the small-diameter wheels.

Electro-optics guide the vehicle. A camera placed behind the windscreen tracks a painted double line on the road surface. Image processing and direction recognition software generate signals to hydraulic servos on the steering yoke. Civis can follow the lines with a tolerance of a few centimeters. The driver controls braking and acceleration, and can steer the vehicle away from the white lines if required by traffic conditions.

Civis is undergoing evaluation in France. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada plans to acquire ten vehicles for a Bus Rapid Transit project in Las Vegas.

Herve de Lacotte, Matra Transportation, Montrouge, France; Tel: +33 01 49 65 70 00; Fax: +33 01 49 65 70 93; [email protected]. For more information, Enter 511

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