Supercomputers help design the superbus

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In the HPC-at-work department, CNN brings us the story of a Dutchman, his bus, and a possible end to his very long commute.

Wubbo Ockels of Delft University of Technology spends some serious time commuting:

“I traveled from Gronigen to Delft and it took me four hours there and five hours back. It made me realize that after all the years I had lived in Gronigen the time it took to get anywhere had just been getting longer. Something had to change,” he told CNN.

According to the article at CNN:

It’s the same length as a conventional bus, but …is only one meter 60 centimeters high to maximize aerodynamics and electrically powered. It is also intended to run on roads and dedicated high-speed tracks at over 150 mph.

To avoid breaking Dutch speed limits, the thing would high tail it on special tracks laid next to existing highways on long stretches between major destinations. There is a lot of design work going on here using CFD on the university’s supercomputers:

“It’s a new concept and we’ve gone to the extreme in devising its aerodynamics and using advanced technology from the aerospace industry to create an energy efficient vehicle,” Ockels told CNN.