Sharjah aims to become first city to roll out high-speed skypods
PASSENGER AND CARGO SYSTEM UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Plans are under way to roll out a highspeed skypod transport system for passengers and cargo in Sharjah. The suspended transport system, which involves the movement of driverless pods on “strings” — which are a bundle of tensioned steel tracks attached on concrete supports — is being tested at Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park).
The suspended transport system is different from the conventional pulley system of cable cars or aerial trams, which continuously move and circulate around two terminal stations at a speed between 10 to 20km per hour. Sky pods are connected to high-tensioned steel wire and move back and forth independently.
The uCar (passenger sky pod) that can carry up to four passengers runs on 400-metre test track at SRTI Park at a speed of up to 50km per hour. A longer 2.4km string-rail system will be completed between October to November this year and the driverless hanging electric pod will be tested to run up to 150km per hour. Speaking to Gulf News yesterday, Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, said: “The uSky (electric sky pod) project is a key project in Sharjah. This is a project that we hope out of Sharjah can go global.
“At the moment uSky Transport is testing different passenger and cargo trains and we hope the testing will be successful and we will be able to commercialise the technology and take it to the market,” he added.
Al Mahmoudi said there are different options and sites to roll out the new type of elevated light rail transportation system across Sharjah. “We are looking at Khor Fakkan and we are also working on options inside the city centre. We look forward to commercialising the technology and make it one of the biggest successes in the region,” he added.
Al Mahmoudi noted the elevated string-rail system is part of the comprehensive plan aimed at transforming the city of Sharjah into a sustainable futuristic city.
“We all know the challenges posed by traffic congestion and mobility. We believe the uSky project will boost the mobility strategy and infrastructure of Sharjah and the entire UAE because it uses less land and less land but more efficient,” he added.
Significantly lower cost
Oleg Zaretkskiy, CEP of uSky Transport added “the suspended transport system would cost significantly lower as compared to other transport solutions. It also ensures safety, rational use of land, and minimal environmental damage.”
Meanwhile, Al Mahmoudi said more innovative mobility solutions are being developed at SRTI Park, including autonomous buses and firstand-last-mile solutions such as e-bikes and scooters.
An autonomous bus that can carry up to 20 passengers is also being tested in Sharjah.