Traffic congestion is one of the common challenges in many cities around the world, trying to deal with the problem in various ways like electric scooters for public use or traffic lights that work using artificial intelligence. But one company believes the solution is to build a network of automatic, driverless and high-speed shuttles that will be transported in the city by air on steel tracks.
Such an experiment, in real territory, has been underway these days, since June, by a Belarusian company called uSky Transport, which has developed a 400-meter experimental line in the city of Sharjah, on the border of Dubai and the Emirates.
These futuristic pods are being tested as transport alternatives. uSky Transport says the pods, suspended from a steel track, are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than subways and monorails. https://t.co/hhuLbWwNmW pic.twitter.com/BUhHEZAOSu
– CNN (@CNN) July 20, 2021
On the outside, the electric compartments are painted in glossy white and on the inside are designed like a first-class passenger plane, including stylish lighting, background music and floor-to-ceiling windows. Two upholstered armchairs and two folding chairs are designed for four passengers that the electric compartment can carry.
If and when the project is fully implemented, a network of electric cells that will be spread over a city will be able to provide a transportation solution for 10,000 passengers per hour and speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour, uSky promises, although for safety reasons the speed limit has been limited.
The company’s vision is to alleviate congestion on the roads as well as replace the unpaved roads so that the areas designated for this will be spaces for green gardens, sidewalks and recreation areas. “The land is completely saturated with means of transportation, and people are fed up with the congestion on the roads and the ecological damage it produces,” says Oleg Zaretsky, CEO of uSky Transport.
Cheaper and greener
According to the company, while the construction cost of one kilometer of subway can reach $ 150 million, that kilometer in the system of electrical cells – “sky pods” – will cost 10 million. In addition, the system requires less building materials so that its construction process is also greener and emits less carbon.
USky has also developed a similar system for transporting heavy cargo containers up to 48 tons and at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour.
The sky pods system is also tested in comparison to other systems of above ground movement, such as a cable car for example. But in contrast, sky pods allow for greater flexibility in movement, so that their range of uses is wider. The cable car has only one compartment and it travels at a constant speed. Sky pods can be used in multiple cells simultaneously on the same infrastructure, designed for different distances.
USky acknowledges that careful planning will be required to avoid traffic jams in the sky, but believes that as long as the rules are adhered to, sky pods are a widely used transportation solution.
Later this year, uSky plans to build a 2.4-kilometer line in the city of Sharjah, which will increase the speed of the cabin and illustrate how different types of compartments – passenger compartment and transport compartment – can be used on the same network at the same time.
Hussein al-Mahmoudi, director of the Sharjah Technology and Innovation Research Park – where the test site for electric cells is located – hopes that installing the system in the city will also bring political change and stimulate modern UAE strategies. The success of this experiment has already confirmed Another line, in the coastal town of Kor Pakan in the eastern United Arab Emirates, neighboring Dubai is also testing similar systems of above-ground automatic cells, and other companies such as Virgin Hyperloop are developing them for it.
uSky aims to expand, and faces the Middle East and Asia, where there is a natural population growth and in many countries public transport is underdeveloped, despite rising demand. Despite this, CEO Zaretsky says that interest has also come from the United States and Canada. In the meantime, if everything goes according to plan, the deployment of the sky pods system on the city of Sharjah will be completed by 2024.