REPORT – Urbanloop, a means of electric rail transport, involved students from ten engineering schools in Nancy.
The bus leading to the Tomblaine site (Meurthe-et-Moselle), which adjoins Nancy-Essey airport, displays the color. “World record” destination. It is on an old cleared karting track, where the tar has given way to the rails, that, on Friday May 28, Urbanloop breaks the world record for energy consumption for a means of transport. On the spot, the Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari welcomed this “example of cooperation between schools and universities“, After celebrating”the French pioneer spirit“. The capsules have in their sights the Olympic Games of 2024, in Paris. Urbanloop was selected, with 21 winners, as part of a call for innovations and mobilities from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. The objective is to connect the Olympic nautical stadium of Vaires-sur-Marne, which will host the kayaking events, to the railway stations of Vaire-Torcy and Noisel.
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This project, born in 2017 in the head of Jean-Philippe Mangeot, professor of computer science at Ensem Nancy, wants to reinvent mobility in urban and peri-urban centers. The principle: a fleet of two-seater electric capsules always available and without correspondence circulating on loops of interconnected rails which produce the energy necessary for the motors. A project which involved the students of 10 engineering schools * of the Lorraine INP collegium, the first engineering training center in France, supported by three laboratories and an institute.
Ecological, accessible and secure
The enthusiasm started as soon as Mangeot presented the idea to his students. “All the hands of the amphitheater went upsHe remembers. “The more a heavy message is sent over the internet, the more it must be cut to arrive quickly. The project was to apply this system to transportHe explained to his students. With constraints: being ecological, secure, economical, and accessible. From 2018, 9 schools join the adventure, including Mines Nancy. . “It’s a real collaborative project», Rejoices Lucie, 21, a student at Ensem. Clément, 20, a student at Ensem, was tasked with bringing up to date software for live monitoring of the capsules. Célia, 21, in her second year at Mines Nancy, worked on risk management. “We have the impression of being useful for something and people are interestedShe prides herself.
The world record is approved
A capsule shoots out. A drone flies over. On a screen displaying live the positions of three capsules – to be as close as possible to real uses – red dots move. The delegation, in the shade of a marquee erected in the middle of the circuit, rises abruptly to follow the capsule with its gaze. It screams, it applauds. Racetrack tunes, under a blazing sun. At 10:51 am, the world record is approved. Certifer, a railway certification agency, made the trip. Over 1 kilometer, the capsule consumed 0.05 kwh / h, or a cost of 0.47 euro cent. The capsule, whose doors were installed the day before and hold with rubber bands, reached 52 km / h. It is still only a prototype.
“Students want to give meaning to what they do”
Before Urbanloop, we had to prune and clean up abandoned land. Tires, fences and materials littered the ground. “It was the jungle», Remembers Benoît, 21, in his second year at Mines Nancy. Like him, around 100 students worked on the project this year. A project reflecting the motto of the University of Lorraine: “Dialogue between knowledge“. The ENSG carried out the geophysical prospecting, the materials were chosen by the students of the EEIGM, where the students of the InSic worked on intermodality, etc… “Students want to make sense of what they do», Remarks Pascal Triboulot, director of Lorraine INP. They have also conducted awareness campaigns among elementary school students in Tomblaine. “Being an engineer means working for sustainable development», Summarizes Mathieu, 20 years old, students of Ensem.
The 2024 Olympics in the sights
Beyond the educational interest, “it’s a crazy project», Recalls Jean-Philippe Mangeot. “But the good thing about students is that they don’t know it’s almost impossible, so we always find solutions.», He continues proudly. Pascal Triboulot, who is living the most collaborative and stimulating project of his “long“Academic career, concludes:”We must support the development of Urbanloop through school projects. We are in our mission.»
And for after? The students are unanimous “Because of the congestion in the cities, this project in the future.»
* National Higher School of Electricity and Mechanics (Ensem), École des Mines Nancy, Télécom Nancy, National Higher School of Geology (ENSG), Higher School of Construction Engineers in Metz (ESITC), National School of ‘engineers from Metz (ENIM), Higher Institute of Design Engineering (InSic), Polytech Nancy and the National School of Systems and Innovation Engineering (ENSGSI).