SkyTran introduces new form of transportation

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SkyTran introduces new form of transportation

Danielle Klinenberg - Staff Writer, Photo courtesy of Google Images

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In an attempt to save commuters from the traffic-induced stress of traveling to work in a cab or bus, a new company called SkyTran has created a system of pods that glide through the air on magnetic tracks without the use of a driver. These two-seated pods will be accessible via an app that can send a pod to a person’s location. The pods will stop at stations similar to those of buses and subways to allow passengers to enter and exit. Not only does SkyTran’s invention make private travel faster and more affordable, but the vehicles use one-third of the energy of an electric car and weigh under 300 pounds. The railways suspending these vehicles will be 20 feet above the ground with lower off-ramps for the pods to slow down and pick up passengers without stopping regular traffic.

“I think SkyTran is a great idea because it gives people more transportation options without needing to be able to drive,” said sophomore Leonie Strehl. “It seems very efficient because there is no traffic due to the well thought-out design.”

Because the vehicles run on tracks, SkyTran pods are fully self-driving. They will additionally contain Internet accessibility and tablets inside each pod for passenger use. In the beginning of the program, pods will be communal and people will pay for transportation similarly to the way they would pay for a taxi or Über. However, the company hopes to eventually make pods available for purchase. Producing and installing SkyTran equipment is also cheaper than expanding the subway system or building new roads, which will allow prices per trip to be lower than those of taxis, but higher than those of buses. The design of this system gives passengers the ability to do other things while traveling with less chance of collision, as the vehicles are automated. Tel Aviv, Israel is set to be the home of the first true pilot project for SkyTran. A 400-meter trial system will be running in Tel Aviv before the end of 2015, with hopes of expanding into a fully functional 20-kilometer railway open to the public soon after.

“Transportation will just recede into the background of lives, as something that just happens automatically,” says John Cole, SkyTran Chief Technology Officer and director in a CNN interview. “I think about where I want to go, tell a computer where I want to go and it just takes me there ­– seamlessly.”

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