Have you ever wished you could magically soar above traffic congestion when you find yourself gridlocked? Well, wish no more. The mode of transportation used by the fictional Jetson cartoon characters is now here.
SkyTran has announced that sky taxis are making their debut. Much like Disneyland’s Monorail, the aerial transit system features "cars" that magnetically glide 20 to 30 feet above the ground along elevated tracks. Each car can hold up to four people and travel as fast as 60mph.
Skytran, based in Mountain View, California, has been developing the system for five years. The pilot project debuted in Tel Aviv at the end of October.
The system will run for about 900 feet on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries, which partnered with SkyTran to develop the cars. If all goes well, the company expects to expand to at least three other Israeli cities and some U.S. cities by 2018.
Compared to subway systems, which can cost between $100 million and $2 billion a kilometer an overhead mode of transport is much cheaper and simpler to build. According to SkyTran CEO Jerry Sanders, it only takes a fraction of that cost to run his aerial cars. The SkyTran costs about $8 million a kilometer, and the cars cost between $25,000 and $30,000 each. It also uses one-third the energy of a hybrid car.”
Made from steel and aluminum, the aerial system can be assembled and installed in just a matter of days. It uses magnetic levitation technology to move the cars. Electromagnets produce the lift and force to propel the cars forward, which makes the system energy efficient.
This technology is especially beneficial in countries where electricity isn't reliable.
Inglewood and Baltimore are among several U.S. cities that have expressed interest in SkyTran's systems. SkyTran hopes to begin building its system in Baltimore next year.
"Either one of those two cities could have our next pilot systems soon," Sanders said. Major airports like Paris' Charles de Gaulle are also considering it.