While stuck in traffic, most of us have wished we could simply fly over the other cars straight to our destination. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is working on making that dream a reality with an exciting new partnership.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has recently struck a deal with urban transportation company BeemCar to develop sky pods. The network, which is a cross between a ski lift and a monorail, will include 21 stations over a 10-mile area. They’ll be able to transport 8,400 passengers in one direction per hour.
Passengers board the pods at a ground stop. They simply select a destination via touchscreen and off they go. The pods are all-weather, climate-controlled and include room for four sitting passengers. They travel along at about 30 mph in a network above the roads and traffic.
Sky Pods Take Shortest Route
Unlike a rail-based system, there is no physical track switching, the intelligent driverless pods choose the shortest route through diverging and converging junctions, traveling directly from origin to destination, without any stopping en route. The pods, which have a payload of up to 1100 pounds, can carry a wheelchair or mobility scooter if needed.
According to BeemCar, the sky pods are low maintenance, cost only about a fifth of the capital cost of a tram, and use 70% less energy than any other powered urban transport. The pods only move when needed, and energy efficiency is enhanced by the solar panels integrated into the top surfaces of each beam.
Sky Network Part of Dubai’s Autonomous Transport Strategy
The autonomous cable car network is part of Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy. The strategy aims to transform 25% of the total transportation in the city to autonomous by 2030. Government officials forecast that this will help cut transportation costs by 44%, resulting in savings of up to AED 900 million a year. It will also help save AED 1.5 billion a year by reducing environmental pollution by 12%, as well as generate AED 18 billion in annual economic returns by increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai.
“The move corresponds to RTA’s efforts to enhance the integration of mass transit modes, and offer a solution to the first and last-mile challenge, which helps riders reach their final destinations,” said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.