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RTA, Skytran to bring driverless public transport to Dubai

Entities sign MoU to introduce suspended transport systems and promote mobility in the emirate

Skytran produces suspended transport systems.
Skytran
Skytran produces suspended transport systems.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with personal rapid transit (PRT) developer Skytran to introduce suspended transport systems in Dubai.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim Younes, chief executive officer of RTA’s rail agency, and John Cole, CEO of Skytran.

Skytran's vehicles have a cruising speed of 160kmph, and feature Proprietary Magnetic Wings that allow the electric units to move along the track on a cushion of air.

Supported 20-30 feet above-ground, the system can transport more people than a six-lane highway.

The small size of the vehicles means they require minimal ground infrastructure, such as small concrete foundations and support poles at every 50m. 

Remarking on the MoU, Younes said: “The signing of this MoU highlights RTA’s continuous efforts to team with global specialist firms in developing advanced public transport technologies capable of attracting more riders."

Cole added: “We are excited to sign this MoU with RTA and [hope to] play an active role in realising RTA’s ambitious projects and initiatives in the field of public transport.”

The development is part of Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy, which aims to convert 25% of journeys in Dubai to driverless experiences by 2030.

Younes said the development of Skypod, a set of suspended driverless transport systems, was also part of the same programme. 

The development comes on the heels of the unveiling of Skypod prototypes at the World Government Summit 2019, held on 10-12 February this year, where two models of the system the – Unicar and the Unibike – were reviewed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation.

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Construction Week - Issue 754
Nov 23, 2019