SkyTran – Individual Maglev System

The American company UniModal Transport Solutions developed a concept for a very high-capacity and high-speed Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) network. Pictures and informations of this sky transportation vehicle are showed below.

sky transport vehicles pictures

sky transport vehicles pictures

This SkyTran system operates with individual, two-passenger vehicles, which are propelled and suspended by a maglev system from overhead guideways. These are laid out in a one mile by one mile networked grid throughout the city. A large number of small departure and exit portals are placed underneath the guideways at approximately every 400 metres or at every city block. Read the rest at Dark Roasted Blend

68 thoughts on “SkyTran – Individual Maglev System”

  1. It’s been ten years since Doug Malewicki first proposed Skytran, but in that time absolutely NOTHING has been done. They can’t even find the money to build a toy, yet alone a 50 foot demo system.

    It seems that the specs have changed recently. The price has more than doubled and the speed reduced from 100 MPH to a mere 45 MPH (see

    This thing will never happen

  2. The issues about cargo and disabled access are easily solved with this system. You could even have a docking system where a small battery-powered vehicle (or disabled persons wheelchair) would automatically be loaded into the pod, so you could carry heavy packages. You wouldn’t even need to own the vehicle, since it could drive itself back to the stop when it is done.

    This is the ultimate system. It isn’t pie in the sky, The technology has finally arrived to do something that people would accept as public transportation, that doesn’t care about hills, that is esthetically attractive, and doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as roads and freeways.

  3. “They look way too small for overweight people, and the steps with no elevators probably violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

    Thats why its called a prototype. Do you have any idea how many drafts there are of a particular design before something is finalized?

    Its a great idea, especially for city transport. The addition of “family cars” that could sit 4-5 could add to the beneficence.

  4. As I understood it, you can Order two of these to whatever station you are at. Put your luggage in the second one, and put it to slave after which one you are driving. So you can sit in one, and your kids/whatever sits in the other one.

  5. I’ve been following this for several years, this is a very well thought-out system. The ADA issue has long-since been addressed by a patent-pending system (although not presented in this article). If a rider happens to come across a vandalized car, it can be sent to a central location for cleaning. Since the system knows which access card last used the car, that card can be immediately revoked, locking the vandal out of the system on a first offense. This is not meant to replace ordinary automobiles completely, but it can replace 80% or more of the trips. I wrote to Doug Malewicki about two years ago and actually received a personal reply. Basically, he and two other engineers put a lot of time and effort into this system because they are passionate about it. However, there is a LOT of political crap that needs to be navigated when trying to bring a system like this into reality and Doug has decided he just doesn’t want to deal with it. He’d rather spend his time enjoying his life. He knows this is by-far the best system, he believes in it but he’s just tired of trying to get others to understand it.

  6. The first time I noticed this system was 7 or 8 years ago. I think it is a great idea. A few things I would like to explain:

    1) compare everyone drive to work, this system saves a lot of energy because the car is much less than a private vehivle with lower efficiency. Greenhouse problem.
    2) door to door, no waiting time, not stop etc. Save time.
    3) have a rest onboard and no worries about the car accident. Recharge yourself
    4) cheaper especilly for todays high petrol price. Keep your money in your pocket.
    5) 7 days 24 hours service. You do not need to pay taxi fare but enjoy the same service.
    6) …
    Oh, too many. But something I still wondering:
    1) is the view in the city there are many lines in sky (about 4 ~ 6 meter abiove) accepable?
    2) is it effecient in semirural area to build a line for the local people?
    3) how to make the people especially the local goverment accept this?

  7. Personally I prefer 2 passages instead of 4. The reasons is less weight in each individual moving unit and need a lighter system than running 4 passages car.

    If there is an overweight person, he can occupy the car himself.

    For the people who use the service, they pay one price from point to point regardless one or two, with or without bagage, just like a taxi.

    For a busy station such as a big shopping center, multi-platform and boarding port is necessary.

  8. For the disabled person I suggest using speciall design car without seat or just one seat. In each station there could be a special button for such special enquire and the car can come as required in few minutes. The wheelchair can be moved or drived into the car and locked firmly.

    As no need to share with strengers, safty is not a big issue. Offcouse the video camera is still necessary but how much you pay for it today? $10?

    I also suggest a “return” or “maintainence” button should be put inside the car. When the car is dirty, the last passenger just need push the return button and then the car goes to the nearby service station to have a service.

    One of my friendy ask me if there is a car suddenly stopped on the way, what can we do? If it is a 4 wheels car it can be pushed to next stop by the following car but if it is MEV, how to solve the problem?

  9. i had a similar idea, only the cars would actually be operational vehicles that users can drive to their house, thereby maintaining autonomy. they would be charged while on the grid, there would be no ‘bus stops’, drive from your home to the grid and back again.

  10. I cannot believe the denseness of some of the people that have left comments here.
    This is an excellent idea based on an amazing principle – magnetic levitation.

    The technology is more efficient and lower energy than a monorail, so it isn’t one.

    A two-seater ‘car’ can be modified as a one-seater for a larger person.

    Families: The system is computer controlled! you book up THREE cars online, put your
    card in the dash of the cars and the system knows to keep them together until destination.
    one parent rides with one child each and free telephone conversation between vehicles
    on the trip. the third car is for your shopping!

    disabled: amazingly the cars can be optimized before mass production to accept a wheelchair.
    the access platforms will obviously be modified to accept wheelchairs. once again this information will be known by the control systems.

    P*ss, graffiti & other niceties: Every person will have to register to use the system. simple. If you dont like that then dont use it.
    When you get to step in a car that has been fouled by the previous occupant, this gets registered and the car get’s sent off to the local ‘cleaning bay’, wherever that is!
    Meanwhile you get in the next available clean car and head off. the fouler of the car get’s the bill automatically debited form his account. This way everyone would immediately own up if the car was anything but pristine when they got in.

    I do believe these access points need to be manned though.

    the point is it’s an idea for the future. Not a finished spec for the system that’s being built in your neighbourhood next month.
    And if it can’t take your particular size/situation/baggage, well then sorry, but it’s a Personal mass transit system; there has to be limits on size, number & weight because our world is influenced by gravity, air and light. I mean how stupid would it look, if we replaced the cars in this scenario for buses? The whole infrastructure would have to be massive to support it. There would be no daylight! And it would take four times the power to run it. but you’ll be able to get any amount of shopping onboard plus your extended family and dog….while a queue built up behind you waiting to get on the next bus!

    at the end of the day it’s not supposed to replace all other modes of transport; if these were in use all over the country, you ‘d have a CHOICE of taking the family out in the car, because the roads would be less populated


  11. This seems to be an ingenious project. With the small footprint and small pods this could easily replace or perfect bus or rail lines. I would like to use the product to commute to reduce my 30 minute drive down to a manageable ten minutes (of E-mail reading). I could use one vehicle instead of two for the family and I would imagine would reduce insurance costs for the locations it is located. Would it be perfect? Of course not the car has had a hundred years and still needs some work, but this seems like a viable system that could eventually replace car traffic altogether. I think the first city to implement it would definitely grow at a staggering rate as more people could work in remote locations or more valuable properties can be used for the building instead of the parking lot size required to support it. Being in California I would prefer this system to the High speed rail they are funding. Less speeding tickets too.

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