The future is now: get ready for high speed magnetic trains.
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Our cities are looking more and more like the ones depicted in science fiction movies. The latest move in that direction has just been announced as Tel Aviv will be the first city in the world to have a the new skyTran, a high speed train with two-person pods that float below the track on a magnetic field.
Israel Aerospace Industries Lahav Division Director Yosef Melamaed and skyTran CEO Jerry Sanders signed an agreement Tuesday for a joint project between the two companies.
For now, a 500 meter (1665 feet) long test loop is to be built at the IAI headquarters near Ben-Gurion International Airport. If all goes well, this experiment will be followed by a full sized train in Tel Aviv. The experimental pods will travel at about 70 kilometers per hour (43 MPH), but once in use the trains will be travel as fast as 240 KPH (150 MPH).
skyTran is a patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated Personal Rapid Transit system. The skyTran network of computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles employs state-of-the-art passive Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) technology. The system transports passengers in a fast, safe, green, and economical manner. skyTran intends to revolutionize public transportation and, with it, urban and suburban commuting.
skyTran is a NASA Space Act company, headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center near Mountain View, California.
Sanders said of the agreement, “The support afforded by IAI is a breakthrough for skyTran. IAI, as a world-class designer of aircraft and avionics, is the perfect partner to take skyTran from concept to construct.”
He added, “Tel Aviv is a world city. It’s a destination for people around the world. A center of commerce. Israelis love technology and we don’t foresee a problem of people not wanting to use the system. Israel is a perfect test site.”
The test system should be ready by the end of 2015. While it is being built the two companies will also lay the groundwork for the first passenger line of its kind in Tel Aviv which will have three stations, be 7 km (2.7 miles) long and cost around $50 million to construct.
Once operational the train will be fully automated. Passengers will be able to order a train on their smart phones and have it meet them at a specific location. It has the added benefit of being green technology with minimal power requirements.
“It can handle 12, 000 people an hour per guideway, and that number grows exponentially with each additional guideway. That is more than a light rail and equal to three lanes of highway, ” said Sanders.
But the companies have not yet set a start date for the construction of the Tel Aviv system.
Jerry Sanders, a former Navy SEAL and advisor to foreign (non-US) governments, is an honors graduate of Queens College and of The University of Texas Law School, and holds post-graduate Certificates in German Socio-economics from The Goethe Institute of Bonn, Germany, and in Comparative Constitutional Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is also the founder of San Francisco Science™, a storied technology group, and of The Triana Group™, an EU/US technology accelerator.