CW in Focus | SkyWay transport enters Phase 2 of development
The AI-based driverless pods on string tracks, which ferry people and cargo, are low cost and energy efficient
In this episode of Construction Week in Focus Season 4, we shed light on the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park’s (SRTI Park) hanging track transport system – the SkyWay project, which has completed 80% of Phase 1 and has begun Phase 2 of development.
The head of Business Development at SkyWay Technologies, Svetlana Voloshyna, and the the senior vice president of the Project division of SkyWay GreenTech, Raman Marwaha, shared exclusive details on the project in conversation with Construction Week's deputy editor, Anup Oommen.
The urban transport concept and technology, which is being tested in Sharjah before being marketed on a global scale, aims to cover a 2.8km-stretch from the Sharjah Airport road to the University City road.
This will involve driverless pods, called “unicars”, transporting passengers and cargo on cables suspended across elevated corridors.
Phase 1 of the SkyWay project witnessed the development of a 400m-long elevated string track and SkyWay stations to transport passengers.
The unicars, which were initially designed for four people, could also be designed for anywhere between two to 80 people.
What makes this transport useful is also the fact that as the population of the smart city increases, more pods – or bigger pods – can correspondingly be added to the same network of elevated string transport, without the need of disrupting the flow of traffic.
Phase 2 of the project will witness the development of a 2.8km-long elevated track to transport cargo, including containers and bulk transport.
The project will undergo government tests and standardisation processes before it enters Phase 3, which will involve the development of a single elevated track that will be able to accommodate both cargo and passengers.
The project is more energy efficient, more cost effective, and a faster means of transport than what currently exists in the market. It has a capacity of running up to 150km.
Since the construction of the SkyWay project involves strings suspended across slender columns, it will also add to the visual lightness of a smart city rather than creating “concrete jungles” as done by other traditional transport.
The use of less material, such as concrete, also results in considerable cost savings in construction.