Wouldn’t it be nice to get the trucks off the streets? Dr. Dietrich Stein, at the Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany, has come up with a clever solution. It’s called CargoCap, and it’s an innovative system for transporting goods in high-traffic downtown areas by underground pipelines. Goods are loaded into the Caps, which are independent, computer-operated vehicles. A Cap can hold two euro-pallets, which are the common cargo transport units in
The advantages of this system are obvious: reductions in traffic, pollution, noise, accidents, and road expansion. The founders have even come up with a way to build the system without disturbing everyday life aboveground. They plan to use an underground, computer-controlled pipe jacking system to precisely drive the pipes into place. Displaced earth is automatically returned to the surface by way of the pipes. The pipe jacking system and small diameter of the pipes allows CargoCap to be implemented near existing infrastructure, and the system can easily be expanded to meet increases in demand.
So far, CargoCap only exists as a model. Dr. Stein and his team are planning to start a company to build the Caps, but realization of the CargoCap system in a German city will take many years, as the political machinery stands in the way.
Intrigued? See www.cargocap.com.