You want a company uSky Transport, based in Belarus, can help cities solve their traffic problems by building a network of high-speed, self-driving pods that circulate around cities suspended from a steel track.
Traffic congestion is a problem for cities around the world, with some looking to electric bikes to ease congestion, others to AI-enabled traffic lights.
In June, uSky Transport opened a 400-meter test line in Sharjah, on the border with Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
From the outside, the electrically powered pods are glossy white while the interiors are designed to feel like a first-class airline suite, including mood lighting, lounge music and floor-to-ceiling windows.
With two padded seats and two foldable seats, the capsule being tested can carry up to four passengers.
The fully implemented city-wide network can support 10,000 passengers per hour, as vehicles are currently able to travel at 150 kilometers per hour.
The company says its goal is to free up roads and land spaces that can be used for green spaces, walkways and public recreational spaces.
According to the company, while one kilometer of the subway can cost up to $150 million, such a system costs about $10 million.
And by using fewer structural materials, it reduces carbon emissions.
The company has also developed a similar technology for transporting cargo containers, which carry up to 48 tons at a top speed of 90 kilometers per hour.
Also Read: Virgin Hyperloop Completes First Human Flight
The capsules make a difference in mobility
Although suspended pods are often compared to monorails or cable cars. However, it offers more flexibility.
You have one vehicle in the cable car and it always travels at the same speed. But you can use many different capsules across that specific infrastructure. Such as those designed for short trips in urban areas or for longer distances.
Although the caveat is that careful planning is required to avoid congestion in a busy citywide network. However, capsules remain a widely adopted solution if promises of improved mobility and sustainability are fulfilled.
uSky Transport plans later this year to build a 2.4 km line in Sharjah. This allows it to run the capsules at higher speeds. and demonstrating how passenger and cargo capsules can be integrated into the same network.
According to Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, where the uSky Transport test lines are located, the hope is that Sky Capsules will advance the emirate’s strategy of becoming a sustainable and future hub.
With the test line running, uSky Transport has also received initial approval to build a line around the coastal city of Khorfakkan.
The neighboring emirate of Dubai is also exploring self-driving pods that operate on top of city traffic. Other global companies, such as Virgin Hyperloop, are said to be developing high-tech transport capsules for the region.
We are looking beyond the UAE, says uSky Transport. The most promising regions for us are the Middle East and Asia. Places where there is natural population growth such as India and Pakistan.
Capsules are more suitable for countries where public transportation is underdeveloped and there is a growing demand for mobility solutions. However, uSky Transport has received inquiries from countries including the United States and Canada.
The company hopes to complete its first commercial contract by the end of the year in Sharjah. This means that uSky Transport capsules may be operational by 2024.
Read also: UK is testing an autonomous capsule to carry passengers