THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM THAT WAS TO BE
Masdar City's integrated transportation plan involves four initiatives, but it was the podcar system, designed by the Italian company Zagato and developed by Dutch firm 2getthere, that held the most promise. The plan proposed a driverless fleet of 3,000 free-moving, electric vehicles that could transport two to six passengers between 85 and 100 stations, tallying up to 135,000 trips a day along pre-programmed routes. This system of podcars was basically a replacement for taxis, providing privacy to passengers without the congestion common in other urban centres. A Wi-Fi network would manoeuvre the podcars through obstacles in real time as magnets along the path continuously pull the vehicle into alignment with little variance: if one is missed, the podcar continues but if two are missed, it comes to a stop. Ultimately, the podcars were to be powered by solar panel arrays on top of buildings (which was also axed from the budget) and thermal energy-storing molten salt technology allowing the vehicles to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.