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Drones, Pods and Flying Taxis: The Future of Urban Transit

At the cutting-edge of city transport solutions, sci-fi becomes reality.

Drones, Pods and Flying Taxis: The Future of Urban Transit

From pod cars and monorails to drones and flying taxis, the future of urban transit is about to arrive. Driven by the issue of terrestrial traffic in the wake of rapid and ongoing urbanisation across the world, these technologies present some of the most innovative and exciting developments for city-dwellers everywhere.

 

SkyTran Self-Driving Monorail, Tel Aviv and Lagos

SkyTran is a self-driving monorail system capable of passing over traffic and travelling at speeds of over 240kph. The idea is that such combined benefits will help cut commute times from hours to minutes, especially in gridlocked cities. Developed by NASA engineers, the pods dangle from slim magnetic rails 20 metres above the ground and current prototypes are being tested to carry two and four people. Already on trial at Israel Aerospace Industries near TelAviv, SkyTran has been commissioned for rollout in Lagos, Nigeria, where traffic is notoriously bad. The 40-km track is slated for completion by 2020.

 

Skytran_in_City

Credit // Header: www.skytran.com

 

AirBus Flying Taxis

In August 2016, aviation giant AirBus drew global attention with its flying taxi concept - an electrically operated aerial vehicle with driverless operation. Dubbed CityAirbus, the project is pitched as a solution to the growing issue of urban commuting in an age of increasing migration to cities. Announcing the plans, AirBus stated their intention to “make the dream of all commuters and travellers come true one day: to fly over traffic jams at the push of a button.” With a prototype slated for the end of 2017, AirBus plans to start with piloted aircraft and switch to autonomous driving once the technology is ready. 

 

Airbus

Credit: Artist’s impression of the multi propeller CityAirbus vehicle

 

Drone Superhighway, Bao’an, China

Many Chinese cities are rapidly modernising and with this comes redevelopment of old infrastructure. Located on the mainland just north of Hong Kong, Shenzhen is trialling a radical overhaul of a 12-lane highway in the former manufacturing hub of Bao’an. A team at Avoid Obvious Architecture was asked to reimagine the road in response to the district’s sustainable, tech-focused aspirations. Based on the premise that traditional highways are outdated and inefficient, AO’s design incorporates “multimodal transportation systems” including drones and driverless cars. Instead of a single highway, they imagine a “multi-layered thoroughfare” that facilitates fluid mobility for both people and goods. The reimagined route acts as a major artery, with water treatment technology and vast public spaces and is envisioned as a catalyst for the city’s 21st-century face lift.

 

Drone Superhighway

Credit: Avoid Obvious Architects + Tetra Architects & Planners

 

Metrino PRT, New Delhi

Millennium City is located in Gurgaon and home to the Indian headquarters of Google, Microsoft and Apple. Just 13km from New Delhi, the area has become a tech hub, the perfect place to experiment with personal rapid transit (PRT) or taxi pods. A completely private enterprise, the project plans to connect Gurgaon with the capital, solving a congestion problem of the kind that that plagues cities across India. Running on a driverless monorail system, taxi pods can carry up to six passengers and stop at 16 stations along the way. There’s also the option of an “express service” that bypasses the standard stops - for a premium, of course. 

 

Metrino_Taxipods

Credit: Metrino

22 / 09 / 2016 // by LigaStudios Team

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