Magnetic levitation technology enthusiasts around the world are waiting to see what will happen in Israel, where skyTran has teamed up with Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) to prove the viability of their Hover Car personal rapid transit (PRT) system. The levitating sky cars will be tested in Lod, a run-down industrial city south of Tel Aviv.
The possibility of installing ‘hovering cars’ in Tel Aviv has been on the table for a while. The idea is that because they are elevated, they can reduce congestion in over-crowded cities.
A 1,640 foot elevated test loop will be installed on IAI’s campus in Lod. Each of the cars can hold two people and will travel up to 45 mph. In reality, if the test proves successful, they will travel at much greater speeds.
Users merely need to call up the pods, which arrive very quickly and deliver the user to their destination. In this way, people are not restricted to the sometimes rigid schedules of other forms of transportation.
And hey, they can be above the city looking down, which is more like adventure. The pods operate by magnetic levitation or maglev on what the BBC most accurately describes as a “monorail-type track.”
It sounds crazy, it sounds ambitious, but this is real. skyTran has been developing this technology under the watchful guidance of NASA for some time.
Towards the end of next year, 2015, the test loop should be complete and then the technology has to be tested. I’m sure details of what this entail will emerge over the coming weeks and months. And then, if it is successful, which its investors think it will be, Tel Aviv residents will be the first guinea pigs.
India, California and France are chomping at the bits as well. And really, any overpopulated city or country will be watching carefully, because technology like this could be a game changer. But it won’t come cheap at $80 million.
Maybe the $10 cardboard bike from Israel is a better idea?