By Laura St. Clair and Brian DeeseA train that uses an artificial tree as a base for running?
It’s not just a dream, says the inventor of the tree-train.
That’s the idea behind a new, low-cost training machine designed to make it possible for train operators to run their trains on artificial trees.
The company, ATS, which has raised $100 million from investors, says it could transform the lives of millions of people who lack access to a traditional tree-trains.
In the past, trees have been used to transport cars, power lines and other infrastructure.
But that is increasingly a problem for developing countries and urban areas that lack infrastructure, said Mark DeWitt, the company’s CEO.
ATS is the first to create a fully automated, low cost train that can run on trees, powered by solar energy, and is a natural fit for those areas, said DeWett.ATS’ machine will be able to run at a speed of around 1,000 meters per hour, or just shy of the world’s fastest train, the fastest train in the world, the Swiss company Deutsche Bahn says.
It can travel up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) in under five minutes.
A TSAT, or “train at tree speed,” machine could transform a railway operator’s everyday routine.
The machine will use sensors to measure the train’s speed, the distance and the current speed, which it uses to determine the best course for the train, according to ATS.
The machine could also be used to control a train to the destination.
Train operators could then decide on a course that suits the train schedule and then have it send an automated message to the operator’s cellphone, asking them to come up with the best route.
A train operator would receive an email notification from ATS asking if they are ready to make the trip.
The operator then selects the best possible route and trains begin running.
The company has tested its prototype on three different trees, and expects it to be ready for use within a year.
DeWetts hopes the technology will be widely used in urban areas, where there are not a lot of trees, like for example in urban parks or green spaces, to minimize the need for costly trees.
“The tree trains are really the answer to a lot if not all of the transportation needs in our cities,” he said.
“These trains are not going to be a major part of the train system, but they’re really going to make a big difference.”