uSky aims to beat back the traffic with futuristic sky pod technology
Sitting in traffic can be a bore, to say the least. Potentially pleasant commutes become prolonged ordeals. Heading out to gridlock in the morning worsens your mental health, wastes time, money and is bad for the environment.
uSky Transport, a Belarus-based passenger and cargo transport company, meanwhile, has an innovative solution to the fight against gridlock: sky pods.
The glossy white pods are suspended from a steel track and can support four passengers at a time. They have a top speed of 93 mph, are electrically powered, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, padded armchairs, foldable seats, lounge music and mood lighting.
uSky introduced a 400-meter test line in Sharjah, located in the United Arab Emirates, in June, with hopes to eventually operate a city-wide network of pods able to support 10,000 passengers per hour.
“The ground level is completely over-saturated, and people are tired of traffic jams. People are tired of emissions,” CEO Oleg Zaretskiy told CNN.
While one kilometer of subway track can set you back as much as $150 million to build, the entire pod transport system is only going to cost around $10 million, according to uSky.
Since the sky pods travel above ground, they may be compared to other means of transportation like cable cars or monorails, but, according to McKinsey & Company Associate Partner Stephanie Haag, what sets them apart is flexibility.
“In a cable car, you have one car and it always drives at the same speed,” Haag told CNN. “(In sky pods) you can use many different cabins on that particular infrastructure.”
uSky has plans to build a 1.5-mile track in Sharjah later this year, in order to showcase and test larger speeds and demonstrate how passenger and cargo pods can work together in the same system.
The company aspires to complete its initial contract in Sharjah by the end of 2021, which would allow sky pods to be in operation over the city by 2024.
From there, Zaretsky told CNN the goal is to branch out around other areas around the Middle East where there are high amounts of population growth.
“We can see that the most promising areas for us (are in the) Middle East (and) Asia,” Zaretsky said. “Places where there is natural growth of population … such as India and Pakistan.”