Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island will benefit from skyTran, a personal rapid transit (PRT) system, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Miral and skyTran Inc., a NASA Space Act company.
The computer-controlled, two-person vehicles employ state-of-the-art magnetic levitation technology instead of wheels. The patented high-speed, low-cost, elevated PRT system built at the NASA Ames Research Center, will have cars zipping above traffic along magnetic lines from one destination to another. The project aims to connect the current and future destinations on Yas Island and eventually link it to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Commenting on the MoU, Mohamed Abdulla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, said: “Innovation remains at the heart of what we do on Yas Island. 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. With skyTran, we have a partner who not only shares our vision for innovation in Abu Dhabi, but are developing a service whi ch will transform the Yas Island experience, and grow our appeal to the millions of residents and tourists who visit us from the UAE and across the world.”
As visitation to Yas Island grows, skyTran’s design will allow for expansion of its network with ease, where more tracks can be installed and additional vehicles added to the network to manage increased demand. The use of a sophisticated computer network enables vehicles to travel at optimum speed and spacing in a safe and efficient manner depending on passenger demand.
Jerry Sanders, CEO, skyTran, 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. With our access to NASA’s cutting-edge technology and expertise, we are able to introduce a solution on Yas Island which paves the way for Abu Dhabi to define the Middle East’s innovative mode of transport for the future.”
Yas Island currently attracts over 25 million visitors every year to attractions which include 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 from around the world is expected to grow to over 30 million.
Read the July 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine