Aramis - the Love of Technology

by Bruno Latour

translated by Catherine Porter

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996, 314 pp

This book describes efforts by the French to design and build a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) technology called Aramis. It was originally written in French and has been translated into English recently. This French effort covered some 20 years and involved substantial public and private expenditures to develop an urban transportation technology that could be used in French cities as well as be an important export product. The theme of the book is "Who killed Aramis?" and it reads like a detective story. Its contents were derived from extensive interviews with the key people in government and industry that were involved in this research and development effort. A great many documents were also reviewed and assessed. It is not highly technical and is written in a very engaging style. The lessons learned are very relevant to engineers, public officials and industrial managers who would engage in a similar effort to develop an urban transportation technology.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Who Killed Aramis?

1 -- An Exciting Innovation -- 12

2 -- Is Aramis Feasible? -- 51

3 -- Shilly-Shallying in the Seventies -- 84

4 -- Interphase: Three Years of Grace -- 124

5 -- The 1984 Decision: Aramis Exists for Real -- 159

6 -- Aramis at the CET Stage: Will It Keep Its Promises? -- 203

7 -- Aramis Is Ready to Go (Away) -- 251

Epilogue: Aramis Unloved -- 289

Glossary -- 303

Last modified: October 26, 2007