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Dubai strikes deal for ‘sky pod’ transit system

The move is part of Dubai’s goal for 25 per cent of mobility journeys to be via autonomous transit by 2030.


Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an agreement with the UK’s BeemCar Ltd for the development of futuristic ‘sky pods’ built on suspended transport technology for Dubai.


The agreement is part of RTA’s efforts to meet the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy, which is targeting 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai to be via autonomous transit by 2030.


BeemCar describes its solution as “a cross between a monorail and ski lift”.


There is no physical track-switching and pods all travel in the same direction.


Each four-seater pod is suspended from a drive unit that sits inside a hollow, lightweight beam. The pods are powered by linear motors, which provide the forward propulsion and braking. They travel along at 50 km/hr (30mph) on the beams that criss-cross the city in a network above the traffic.


According to The National, Dubai’s sky pod network will span 15km with 21 stations, providing the capacity to transport 8,400 passengers in one direction per hour.



“The move corresponds to RTA’s efforts to enhance the integration of mass transit modes, and offer a solution to the first and last-mile challenge, which helps riders reach their final destinations,” said His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.


Dubai’s RTA is also trialling an autonomous air taxi to learn more about operational requirements.


Through the Self-Driving Transport Strategy, Dubai leaders forecast a 44 per cent reduction in transportation costs, resulting in savings of up to AED 900 million (£191.6 million) a year. They also calculate AED 1.5 billion (£0.3 billion) a year savings through reducing environmental pollution by 12 per cent. AED 18 billion (£3.8 billion) in annual economic returns are expected by 2030 through increasing transportation efficiency.


Dubai’s RTA is also trialling an autonomous air taxi to learn more about operational requirements, as well as developing an integrated transport system, incorporating walking, cycling and e-scooters. This includes building cycling lanes extending 425 km, which are planned to increase to 674 km by 2023.


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