Flying personal transport is on the way. Not to a U.S. city, but to Tel Aviv, the Wall Street Journal’s pick of the world’s top three cities for innovation, economic growth, and global competitiveness. Tel Aviv, a Global City in its own right, is in the forefront of adopting new urban transportation systems and benefiting from NASA technology and outreach.
SkyTran is a patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system. The skyTran network of computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles employs state-of-the-art passive Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) technology. SkyTran intends to revolutionize public transportation and, with it, urban and suburban commuting.
SkyTran is a NASA Space Act company, headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center near Mountain View, California. NASA uses Space Act Agreements as the primary means for partnering with the community. SkyTran greatly benefits from such an arrangement by having access to a wide range of NASA technologies and capabilities and being able to combine NASA expertise, assets, and information with its own core competencies.
In June 2014, skyTran partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), an aerospace company headquartered in Lod, Israel for the construction of a skyTran Technology Demonstration System (TDS) on the grounds of IAI’s corporate campus. The TDS will incorporate skyTran’s salient features and provide a platform for skyTran vehicles to travel at high speeds, with full payloads while levitating. The TDS will enable testing, refinement, and validation of skyTran’s technology in a controlled environment.
The first commercial system will be completed within 24-months of start of construction, which, allowing for various governmental approvals, is projected for Q4 2016. Total construction cost for the entire system is projected at $80 million (58 million Euros). This system will be Phase One of a much larger (125+ miles / 200+ km) urban/suburban network that will cover all of the “Gush Dan” (Central Israel) urban/suburban area. Initially, many of the users will be transportation tourists and fun seekers. In parallel, the employees and executives of the Atidim Center and the students of Tel Aviv University will adopt the system for their commuting needs. Individual tickets will be about $5 (3.6 Euros) per rider (and the system will allow for subscriptions, discounts, and per KM charges). Click here for more.