What’s this? Some sort of fancy computer-controlled transportation system designed to hover over a new greenway freeway just west of Downtown Houston? Not really. Actually, not even close: It’s a maglev pod transporter all right, proposed by a company called skyTran operating out of the campus of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Northern California. But the system it’s designing is meant for Israel first, not the Bayou City. A background image of Houston’s maybe-not-quite-iconic-enough downtown skyline just seemed suitable enough for one of the promotional images (above) illustrating the SkyTran “personal rapid transit” system, which is meant to pair a low-cost, low-energy, light-weight elevated rail system with cozy, droplet-shaped 2-person vehicles.
Just order one up from your iWatch (or smart phone, if you’re old fashioned) and a pod will swing by and take you and your best buddy where you want to go:
This week, the company announced plans to build a demonstration loop of the system on the campus of an aerospace company in Lod, Israel. Next stop: Tel Aviv. The only U.S. city currently mentioned in the company’s down-the-track plans is San Francisco, though images on the skyTran website show skyTran pods shooting past or through buildings in L.A. and Berkeley as well.
- skyTran and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to Build a skyTran Demonstration System (PDF) [skyTran]
- Israel is building a futuristic ‘hover-monorail’ that could come to the US [Engadget]
Images and video: skyTran