The Bus

As man evolved, he understood that, compared to other animals, he was a weakling. This was apparent on his various hunting expeditions to provide food for his dependents.

In addition to many other parameters, he lacked in speed. Most of the time, his prey galloped away or ran away, and he was left panting by the wayside.

Thus his need to domesticate various other animals like the horse to gain speed. This was his preferred means of transport, whenever he needed to travel faster, till the industrial revolution, when mechanised vehicles were introduced in the form of cars.

But these cars ran on petrol or diesel which were in short supply, hence expensive.

He felt the need to transport a larger number of people at a time and thus a bus was born. Though it ran on the same expensive fuel, the higher numbers it carried made it economical. But this dependence on buses and cars for faster travelling meant burning of the highly polluting fuels which became one of the major factors of global warming.

Thus started the search for cleaner and inexpensive energy sources.

Electrical energy is cleaner and today it is taking baby steps towards electric cars but there are other cheaper energy sources too, on which buses and cars can run. Like CNG, LPG, etc. but man is never satisfied.

Which brings us to the news which I read today.

It seems UK has taken a very important step where they have test driven a bus run by poo.

Poo, did I say!

Coming to think of it, it certainly would be inexpensive as it gets generated regularly, mostly every morning. Of course, there are those unique specimens who generate it untimely. And then there are few who fall ill and cannot hold it in and have to rush to generate.

There are enough species who do this extremely important social work day in and day out and contribute to reducing the global warming. My salutations to the scientists who conceived this unique energy source, based on methane conversion.

The day is not far, when this poo generation takes the form of an industry where various species are lined together every morning to generate energy for the ever growing vehicle numbers.

Already I see the importance of certain middle Eastern countries going down and corresponding elevation of another country which already has such an industry lining the huge network of railway tracks all across the length and breadth of its vast geography. It just needs to be tapped and exploited in a proper way.

Yatindra Tawde

Loaded Driving, hic…

Driving around, loaded, had another connotation. It meant, driving under the influence, which resulted in a spell in the lockup. In many cases it is very dangerous for the people sleeping on the road side, as some Cine Stars and a few rich people with their fancy cars, are very well aware. But here, my subject is different. It involves the latest craze, driverless cars. Or rather, the heavy weight category, the trucks. Yes, driverless trucks!!

Yesterday the first driverless truck was put into service after umpteen trials, in, where else, the United States of America! And imagine what would be its cargo. Hundreds of bottles of beer!! Why would anybody take a chance with beer? Why risk invaluable beer for the inaugural driverless drive of a truck. I mean, they could have used some other cargo, as a bait. Maybe, useless stuff like vegetables or grains. But no, they had to transport beer. If, God forbid, the driverless truck had met with an accident. Then all the madira would have gone down the drain, to bestow unexpected happy hours to the denizens of the underworld. But surprise! The driverless truck had a smooth journey to its destination, 200 km. away at a very safe speed of 83 km/hr. The task of transportation without a driver is achieved by a placement of assorted cameras and sensors all around the outside of the truck, giving it a 360 degree exposure. The sensors constantly sense the distance of the truck from any other physical object in its vicinity and the cameras give it vision. In the inaugural journey there was a driver, who remained in a non-driving position well away from the steering wheel. His function was to take over, only in case of an emergency or in case the various auto functions of the truck went kaput. Ultimately, he was proved to be an extra where the hero of the day was the driverless truck, gently escorting the coy beer from the factory to the waiting hands of the beer-bellied denizens of America.

But I shudder to even contemplate about the same scenario in India. At least, such fragile cargos , like beer bottles will not be transported through the driverless trucks. For one there are too many desperadoes in the prohibition states who will find out all the weaknesses of such transport. They will immediately grasp the weakness that such trucks will stop in case they come in front of it. And by the time the road is cleared again, the beer bottles would all have been escorted out from the back of the truck leading to the celebration of the happiest hours by all the forced non-drinking drunkards. So let’s see how the driverless transport story unfolds in India.

Yatindra Tawde