Dubai Reveals Plans for Electric Sky Pods

photo courtesy of katharine bales

     Dubai, a well-known city in the United Arab Emirates, has released its plans to build a citywide network of above-ground cars. According to CNN Travel,Dubai’s electric sky pod project will involve driverless aerial cars that transport people over the city, helping them avoid traffic delays on their way to work.

     Suspended at least 7.5 meters (approximately 24 feet) above ground by carbon composite beams, each “pod” will seat four passengers and travel 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour. Although this speed may seem relatively slow compared to ground-level cars, the sky pod will be a much-needed alternative to the heavy traffic and crowded public transit that citizens encounter daily.

     The system will also plan for its cars to remain horizontal at all times to allow a smooth, comfortable ride. Their aerodynamic design including a pointed front section ensures that the pods experience as little air turbulence as possible.

     Unlike airplanes, the pods are carried by metal beams that keep them in the same upright position during transport. That being said, they are not meant to replace airplanes; pods serve as alternatives to the most common intracity transportation means.

     Dubai has partnered with Beemcar, a British urban transport company, to initiate the project. CEO Robin Brownsell claims that the new network will offer sustainability and more room for ground-level infrastructure. If all goes as planned, the new, efficient network will be able to accommodate 20,000 passengers per hour.

     Regarding Beemcar’s proposed plans, UK Transport Minister Rachel Maclean told CNN, “Sky pods could help to manage traffic in some of the busiest cities, improve air quality and make cycling and walking even safer and more enjoyable.”

     Essentially, Maclean claims that a sky pod network would likely limit cars, buses, trains, and other transport vehicles that cause traffic and air pollution. The streets of Dubai would be less crowded, resulting in better safety and less chaos for pedestrians and bike riders. The system could transform Dubai’s chaotic atmosphere into a seemingly less busy city.

     Before the planned system can begin servicing people, Beemcar must work with Dubai authorities for three to four years to earn the required license to transport passengers. Once that step of the process is complete, workers can start constructing the network. Authorities hope that it will be finished and in use by 2030, which would allow six to seven years of construction.

     Brownsell observed that planning most large-scale infrastructural projects takes 15 years in the UK; however, if there is enough political support behind the project, it will inevitably deal with fewer obstacles along the way. Between British companies, Dubai authorities and city residents, the sky pod project has accumulated overwhelming support. Hopefully its support bodes well for the success of the project itself.

     As of yet, there is no set completion date for the project. Beemcar hopes that the network will be operating by 2030 to help accomplish Dubai’s vision of 25 percent driverless transport. Not only would this goal result in positive environmental impacts, it would also reduce ground-level traffic and common car accidents. Many agree that its advantages outweigh any drawbacks, so if the network is successful, it can and will improve city life in Dubai.

     As the world nears the mid-twenty-first century, companies are creating new plans and projects for convenient, efficient technology that ultimately benefits the larger community. Hopefully, the world may soon catch up to the images of futuristic dystopias seen in literature and film.

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