Jet-like vehicles running on magnetic lines may soon be deployed in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, it was announced on Wednesday.
The company that manages Yas Island – Miral – has signed an agreement with US-based skyTran, a NASA Space Act company to implement a new personal rapid transit (PRT) system.
The agreement will launch the study and implementation of skyTran – for the first time in the Middle East – on Yas Island.
SkyTran’s computer-controlled, two-person “jet-like” vehicles employ a magnetic levitation technology instead of wheels.
The high-speed elevated PRT system built at the NASA Ames Research Centre in California will have “cars zipping” above the traffic along magnetic lines from one destination to another across Yas Island, a statement said.
The project aims to connect the current and future destinations on Yas Island and eventually link it to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Skytran chief executive officer Jerry Sanders said: “SkyTran truly is a smart transportation solution for smart cities and we are proud to be able to bring this path-breaking technology to the Middle East for the first time.”
Yas Island currently attracts over 25 million visitors every year to attractions such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit.
With the opening of the Warner Bros. theme park in 2018, visitors to Yas Island are expected to grow to over 30 million.
To meet increased demand, Skytran’s PRT system will be able to expand its network easily, installing more tracks and adding vehicles, the statement said.
The computer network also enables vehicles to travel at optimum speed and space themselves in a “safe and efficient” manner depending on passenger demand.
Miral CEO Mohamed Abdulla Al Zaabi said: “While we continue to build world-class destinations and expand Yas Island, it is imperative that we are able to implement an urban transportation solution which is not only energy efficient but also adds another level of excitement to our visitors’ experiences.”