The SkyWay project has loudly announced itself at the World Government Summit in the UAE. As we reported earlier, it was presented at the event by the Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority as its new project - Dubai Sky Pods. Support from the leadership of the Arab Emirates was confirmed by the visit of the Emir of Dubai, Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with his son.
The project of string transport has passed a long and difficult way to become one of the official infrastructure projects in the UAE. Let us recall the main events that led to this.
SkyWay project’s author Anatoli Yunitski has started eyeing up the UAE as a promising area long ago, even during the time of the test site in Ozyory. The first projects for this region were worked out in the 2000s. Among them - a version of the route “Abu Dhabi - Dubai – Sharjah”. The first business trips to Dubai and Abu Dhabi took place at the same time. The UAE has become a platform for negotiations with local authorities and representatives of international business.
The Arab direction was important, but it was not the only one. In parallel, work was carried out in India, Indonesia, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other countries. Promotion of the project in the business environment and in government circles gave the SkyWay project a necessary understanding of the market and allowed us to create string transport systems in such versions as we see them today.
Future Cities Show
Negotiations, trips, visits and exhibitions around the world eventually attracted the attention of the top management of the United Arab Emirates to SkyWay project. Work in the UAE has intensified since 2015. Relevant ministries and the highest level of government learned about the project. The matter got closer to a great, “reporting” event, at which SkyWay project was supposed to announce publicly its ambitions in the UAE. This event was the exhibition Future Cities Show 2018 in Dubai. Dubai media wrote about SkyWay the following then:
A lightweight elevated transportation system, which is several times less costly than conventional rail transport systems, can become a big leap in the development of logistics in the UAE.
Visitors to the exhibition accepted the novelty with interest, and the media reposted photos of SkyWay transport modules. However, the main events took place behind the scenes of the event. The final stages of negotiations on the construction of the Innovation Center in Sharjah took place there, but the Company’s management would be able to tell about it only in the summer of 2018.
Anatoli Yunitski’s speech at EcoFest 2018
The results of the Future Cities Show were such that the United Arab Emirates became the main focus of work for SkyWay. Immediately after the exhibition, bilateral visits of representatives from SkyWay Technologies Co. and local authorities began, during which the details of future projects were finalized. SkyWay news service followed the events, but could only tell a little and in general terms.
The founder of the project Anatoli Yunitski clarified the subject only in August 2018. During a speech at EcoFest, he openly announced the plans of the project in the UAE:
About six months ago I started looking for an opportunity to build a high-speed test complex in another country. Today I can reveal this country: it is the United Arab Emirates. We have received the support of this country’s government.
They have already demonstrated how they need SkyWay routes. They have allocated to us land of more than 50 hectares in total for two technological SkyWay sites – one site 2.5 km long for urban and cargo complexes, including that for transportation of sea containers weighing up to 35 tons, where we plan to reach speed of 150 km/h and the second site 25 km long, where we plan to reach speed of up to 600 km/h with an increase of the site length to 60 km, where we will build a Hyper-U prevacuum tube and get the speed of 1,250 km/h in the future.
We begin construction in the Emirates in September. Everything is ready for this. These are our first target projects, the so-called “linked projects” – prototypes of transport/infrastructure complexes for state orders in tropical version.
The preparatory work associated with the Arab project is not only marketing and business diplomacy. The Company was preparing new models of transport, architectural projects and all the required documentation for the Middle East. This difficult work was done very quickly. The first results were reported very soon.
Construction in Sharjah
The SkyWay Innovation Center should become part of a large research and development center located at the Sharjah campus. This will be a showroom for the Middle East region and a functioning transport line for local campuses.
Preparations for its construction began in the spring of 2018. The specialists of SkyWay Technologies Co. designed and coordinated with the Arab side all the nuances of the future innovation center and convinced them to leave in the project all the know-how, not familiar to local consultants.
At the end of September 2018, the opening of the site for building the Innovation Center took place. If priorities do not change, the first stage will be completed in 2019.
In parallel, the designers were creating new models of transport for the local inhospitable climate.
SkyWay transport is presented to Dubai’s Crown Prince
While the SkyWay Innovation Center was under construction in Sharjah, the project announced itself at the highest level in another emirate - Dubai. There, with the support of the local Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), SkyWay rolling stock was demonstrated to Emir of Dubai’s son, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. The young prince heads the HN Capital LLP hedge fund and the new university named after him. Thanks to his representation, the UAE received the right to host the World Expo 2020.
Then RTA’s Director-General Mattar Al Tayer took over the promotion of SkyWay. In a publication at the Arabian Business portal, he told about the strong points of the new transport system:
SkyWay would use an area of land that is 100 times less than conventional means of the same capacity, while the pods' power efficiency is five times better than electric vehicles and the system requires infrastructure, which is 10 times less than conventional transit systems.
Dubai Sky Pods - this is the name of the new SkyWay string public transport technology.
After the presentation to the Crown Prince, SkyWay status has changed significantly. Now the project was not in itself, it was supported by the relevant authority and the UAE’s top management. This opened up new doors for the string transport.
World Government Summit
Probably, the most significant presentation of the SkyWay project was held on February 10-12, 2019. RTA managed to introduce Dubai Sky Pods to Emir of Dubai, Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during the World Government Summit. He has visited the SkyWay exposition stand with his son – perhaps, it was the Crown Prince who recommended his father to review the novelty.
During the exhibition, the Head of RTA Mattar Al Tayer once again expressed support to the project and told how SkyWay should help Dubai:
The Sky Pods initiative is part of RTA’s efforts to provide autonomous transport, one of the key aims of the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys on various transit means by 2030. It is also part of RTA’s efforts to enhance the integration of public transit means, and offer solutions for short journeys (first and last mile) enabling public transport users to reach their final destinations.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between RTA and the Arab branch of SkyWay project, SkyWay Greentech Co. on the last day of the summit. RTA once again reinforced the intention to create a network of string routes in Dubai with it.
The history of SkyWay in the UAE continues. Many things cannot be revealed yet; a lot of questions are to be solved. Follow the news of the project!
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