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Maglev Personal Transportation System Set For Trial In Tel Aviv

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the monorail-monorail-monorail dept.

Transportation 81

andhar (194607) writes The BBC reports a system of two-passenger maglev pods suspended from 500 meters of elevated tracks will be constructed on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries as a pilot for a larger deployment in Tel Aviv. The article claims a top speed of 150 mph (240 kph) for these autonomous "personal rapid transit" pods. From the article: "Joe Dignan, an independent smart city expert, said the system represented 'a hybrid between existing infrastructure and autonomous vehicles.' 'It will get the market in the mood for autonomous vehicles — it is not too scary, is cheaper than building out a train line and uses part of the urban landscape, 20 feet above ground, that isn't currently used.'"

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isn't currently used (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314655)

means isn't currently taxed I guess. I wonder how long that will last.

SkyTran! (5, Funny)

Raumkraut (518382) | about 3 months ago | (#47314673)

Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, one-car, SkyTran!

What'd I say?

SkyTran!

What's it called?

SkyTran!

Re:SkyTran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314725)

Maybe it's a Shelbyville idea.

Re:SkyTran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47316861)

I think this is a lot closer to the escalator to nowhere.

Long Overdue Use of "free space" (5, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 3 months ago | (#47314745)

The concept of using the equivalent of ski lift pods above ground between light poles has always made a lot of sense to me.

I've wondered why downtown city planners haven't implemented this type of transit as it could potentially alleviate all sorts of congestion for relatively "long walks" people have to make in dense areas.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#47314787)

Above land monorail type systems do seem to be a practical approach, particularly since right-of-ways along roads are already established. I have wondered why it hasn't been cost effective vs. light rail development. I suppose one issue is getting all those people down to the ground if the system fails, but it doesn't seem like a major challenge to figure out.

One problem is zoning for overhead wires. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314813)

The new streetcar system in DC ran into this. Oops, zoning laws say you can't have overhead wires. They changed the law.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314885)

Liability concerns. Someone pours acid on the cable or attacks the cable in the middle of the night with an angle grinder, the cable fails with people on a car, the lawsuits will go into the hundreds of millions, as well as causing it to never be attempted again.

Look how the Hindenburg paralyzed airship travel developments for a century and country, and how 3MI stopped nuclear development going on 40 years in the US.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (2)

Megane (129182) | about 3 months ago | (#47315165)

Well, first, someone has to actually get up there to do the damage. When it's 20 feet in the air, you have to work to cause problems. Sure, overhead freeway signs get tagged every now and then, but this is all very much high-hanging fruit. Also, this can already be done with ground rail, but I haven't heard about a major epidemic of rail sabotage. People getting hit by trains because of stupidity or stalling on the crossing is significantly more common. There perhaps should be some concern that this is in a place where terrorists like to blow things up, but even they know that with no transportation infrastructure, they won't be able get around to blow more things up.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47315733)

Terrorism is actually one of their selling points for Tel-Aviv. Since they're personal cars, and all of the cars are designed to self-brake in the event of a track outage, it's difficult to conceive of how a terrorist could do much more than blow themselves up and cause a minor traffic disruption. I guess if there was a crowd waiting for pods they could attack that...

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 4 months ago | (#47321777)

I guess if there was a crowd waiting for pods they could attack that...

And the second selling point for such a system in Tel-Aviv is the throughput of the system should successfully prevent the formation of a waiting crowd, ever, completely eliminating one of the suicide bomber's favorite targets: a crowded bus stop with a bus just arriving.

It remains to be seen if the system works as well as the simulations. Getting enough of the individual cars routed the right direction at the right times of day is a fascinating software problem.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47316835)

Liability concerns. Someone pours acid on the cable or attacks the cable in the middle of the night with an angle grinder, the cable fails with people on a car, the lawsuits will go into the hundreds of millions, as well as causing it to never be attempted again.

Look how the Hindenburg paralyzed airship travel developments for a century and country, and how 3MI stopped nuclear development going on 40 years in the US.

Life involves risks.

The best thing YOU can do is kill yourself now, so you won't have
to worry about risks any more.

.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 4 months ago | (#47324447)

It's a lot easier to just mess with train tracks or roads on the ground. Just place a large object to cause a derailment and kill hundreds, instead of killing a mere one or two in a pod.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 months ago | (#47314909)

But that's just like being stuck in an elevator. A little upsetting perhaps but people are perfectly safe.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#47314973)

One person stuck vs. miles of people stuck is a different animal, and getting someone out of a stuck elevator is quite easy in many cases.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47315741)

So you stagger the zones to isolate the size of faults, and you buy a few old airport air-stairs and put one at a fire station in each zone.

I live in a city with a developing light-rail system, and honestly it's a mess. The roads are disrupted and have less carrying capacity, there have been regular private-use passenger vehicles hit by trains, there's been a BUS hit by a train, and there have been outages when car-wrecks on the tracks prevent the trains from flowing.

Elevated monorail would have been quieter, wouldn't have to stop at intersections, wouldn't have at-grade crossings, and wouldn't have provided nearly as much disruption to the neighborhoods it was installed into. It also could have crossed publicly-owned spaces like parks, parking lots, etc, to make service to the airport or to sports venues easier.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47314957)

I think the technology for handling failures already exists; I'm thinking Winch, Harness, And Rope. But most times as not, when you're stuck in a pod, the safest thing for Pod Surfers to do is wait for help.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Megane (129182) | about 3 months ago | (#47315103)

Don't forget the humble ladder truck!

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315099)

The KL Monorail [wikipedia.org] system was a great way for us to get around Kuala Lumpur during a recent trip. It worked for me as a tourist. Not sure what the experience of daily commuters might be.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47315213)

One thing I like about the SkyTran concept in particular is also something I liked about Hyperloop: reduced columnar loading. Versus having actual trains running elevated, you have many, much smaller individual loads. It's closer to having a low, constant load then a periodic, very high load like you get with trains. The less the peak load, the smaller, lighter, and cheaper you can build the columns and track.

I see they've dumped their old, aerodynamic-disaster "fully egg-shaped" cars that was all over their old promotional materials in favor of ones with streamlining that works in the real-world (egg-shaped front, rear taper). Good to see.

SkyTran seems to address well one of the three main complaints about public transport (the "It doesn't go straight from where you are to where you want to go" aspect, meaning you have to wait for the right line, go on pointless detours, sometimes to exchanges, etc). It doesn't however seem to offer a solution to the other two (the lack of terminals being present both directly at the start of your destination and the end of your destination, rather than having to walk for blocks or more on each end of the journey; and, inability to store things in your vehicle / take large objects with you). Still, it's a start. Combined with a small and/or foldable piece of personal transport tech, one could take a number of big steps in the direction of making it as convenient as personal vehicle ownership.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 3 months ago | (#47318059)

>I see they've dumped their old, aerodynamic-disaster "fully egg-shaped" cars that was all over their old promotional materials in favor of ones with streamlining that works in the real-world (egg-shaped front, rear taper). Good to see.

Every new system or mode of transport has growing pains. Look at what cars used to look like when they were new. The stuff you saw before wasn't even prototype, it was concept art. The same thing happens in cars: designers draw up some concept art that looks little like real cars that are developed based on the concepts; real-world concerns and engineering realities change many things.

>SkyTran seems to address well one of the three main complaints about public transport (the "It doesn't go straight from where you are to where you want to go" aspect, meaning you have to wait for the right line, go on pointless detours, sometimes to exchanges, etc)

It also addresses other big problems with regular public transit:
1) having to share with other passengers
2) having to wait for the next ride (you kinda mentioned that above, but not really), as SkyTran is on-demand. There would probably be some wait time at a low-traffic stop, but it depends on how busy the system is and how many cars are available.
3) energy usage; buses are gas guzzlers, and we'd be better off with everyone driving personal cars than using buses if it weren't for the parking and density issues. Other trains aren't much better. The amount of vehicle weight per passenger in those modes is very high, even compared to a mid-size car. The steel wheels (versus rubber tires), resulting in lower friction, helps some, but not enough. SkyTran has extremely low weight per passenger, plus it's maglev so friction is negligible.

>the lack of terminals being present both directly at the start of your destination and the end of your destination, rather than having to walk for blocks or more on each end of the journey;

This isn't perfect, but it's better than other systems because it's not that hard to add in extra stops if they're needed. The system can be initially built with only a few stops, and then new stops can be filled in later. (This also happens to be a big advantage of buses over trains/subways: it's easy to modify a bus route, but it's enormously expensive to build new rail stations or subway lines.) Remember, the whole thing is basically metal rails suspended on utility poles: the installation just isn't very hard compared to things like trains. The basic idea, long term, is to have lots and lots of stops, perhaps every quarter-mile or so, depending on density and usage. Since, unlike a bus or train, SkyTran doesn't have to stop at every single stop along the way, there's no extra time penalty to having more stops. (And, unlike regular cars, there's no stop lights: greater density with cars results in more roads, and more intersections and more stop lights, which increases travel time greatly.) If you had a commuting service that only required you to walk a block from your house to get to, is that really such a big deal?

>and, inability to store things in your vehicle / take large objects with you

How do buses and trains compare? They aren't any better. No, it's not like a car that way, and it isn't intended to be. It's meant to be a small vehicle optimized for commuting, not a replacement for every single mode of transport out there. Built out enough, it could take the place of cars for many, many uses, but not all. It's never going to be usable for getting 2 months' worth of groceries from Costco, or hauling sheets of 4x8 drywall or plywood or loads of mulch. It's not even very good for transporting a bunch of children, so if you have quadruplet toddlers you'll probably want to keep your minivan. For most other uses, though, it's a great alternative, and really should be able to replace city buses at the minimum, and quite likely many passenger trains if it's built out enough. It probably won't replace subways in extremely dense urban areas, because SkyTran can't handle the volume that a packed subway can (think of those Japanese subways where they have people physically pushing everyone into the cars). For suburban areas, and even less-dense urban areas, or even in Manhattan as an alternative to taxis, it's perfectly viable and superior in most ways.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 4 months ago | (#47321813)

It probably won't replace subways in extremely dense urban areas, because SkyTran can't handle the volume that a packed subway can (think of those Japanese subways where they have people physically pushing everyone into the cars).

If their math is correct, it can even replace those. The system is supposed to be capable of very high throughput. Higher than every other form of transit.

We finally get to see if their simulations are correct.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#47323355)

Really? That would surprise me. The Tokyo and Manhattan subways handle an incredible number of people on a daily basis, and I have a hard time seeing SkyTran moving tens of millions of riders around per day, just looking at how much room a single person takes on a subway vs. a SkyTran car. Obviously, during non-peak times (esp. late at night) SkyTran shouldn't have any problem, but I'm thinking about the peak times.

Compared to cars, trains, and buses, it's no question that SkyTran would be more efficient and convenient and faster. But when a giant group of people all want to go from a cluster of points in one place to another cluster of points at another place, all along a straight line, at the very same time, it's pretty hard to beat rail transport.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Calsar (1166209) | about 3 months ago | (#47314991)

Similar things have been done before like the PRT system in Morgantown
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

This system is quite old. It is faster than a regular transit system because you only stop at your destination. However, there are complexities in the track design and you have a lot of little cars to maintain instead fewer larger ones.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47315469)

Neat link. The Morgantown solution sounds sort of like a halfway solution between busses and SkyTran. The individual cars are designed for holding a lot more people, and they always try to carry as many people as possible, not even dispatching a car to you unless five minutes go by without another person requesting the same destination. And during the day they basically operate as busses, stopping at all of the stops. And of course, because the mini-busses it uses are much heavier than the SkyTran personal cars approach, that means you need to build heavier tracks and viaducts to be able to support the weight.

Still, it's a partial solution. And its important as you point out, the more cars you make, the more you need to maintain. So SkyTran is going to have to put a lot of effort into ensuring that they're easy to maintain and have a significant stock of spares on-hand to rotate in as broken cars rotate out. And of course it'll be critical to be able to get broken cars out of the system ASAP. They say that the track is designed to be modular to quickly swap out in case of damage and that all vehicles maintain enough energy to get to a station in the event that something becomes impassable. I guess we'll see how that works out. I had pretty much thought that this project was abandoned, given that I hadn't heard any news on their Tel Aviv pilot in quite a while.

BTW, I thought SkyTran had abandoned maglev. Yet the article is saying it's maglev. Strange...

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47318611)

An interesting set-up similar to the Morgantown system is in place at Heathrow Airport [arup.com] , in some ways a huge improvement over the Morgantown system too. It still has significant boarding stations to limited destinations, but you can travel at any time and even hauls luggage and other smaller bits of bulk cargo (like would be expected at an airport).

A video of this in normal operation on YouTube can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu2B4WlC34 [youtube.com]

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315667)

how'bout walking?

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 3 months ago | (#47316221)

It's all fun and games until some homeless dude uses it as a private toilet.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47316905)

then that one is sent back to the paddock to be cleaned and you get in another one.

and homeless dude gets banned from the monorail.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47318955)

Fascist.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317953)

This problem is easily solved by having public bathrooms spread around the city. Homeless people do not piss in inconvenient places because they hate your freedom, they do it because they have nowhere else. Unfortunately most cities don't bother providing bathrooms (or lock them up at night), because their city councils are spiteful toward poor people.

As for shit, most of them go way out of their way to dispose of their shit in a plastic bag or something. It is not pleasant for them, so feel free to say thank you to the next one you meet.

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about 3 months ago | (#47318397)

Homeless people do not piss in inconvenient places because they hate your freedom, they do it because they have nowhere else.

No, they do it because they're mentally ill homeless people. Or do you think that all of them are just normal guys who just got a little unlucky and couldn't find a job for 20 years straight?

Re:Long Overdue Use of "free space" (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 3 months ago | (#47319361)

well, they probably also have some level of public sanitariums, like we used to before we decided it was cheaper and better this way.

Sounds expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314757)

Good thing Israel doesn't have to spend any money on its extensive military programs.

dark matters II; the hymenology council reconvenes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314763)

the council's counsel claims the unfinished business clause. always raising a flap about something.... http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hymen+origins some still calling this 'weather'? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather

monkey business; “Let me control the media (now the 'weather' too) and I will turn any nation into a herd of pigs” – Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels turned words into a weapon of mass destruction. Dangerous lies spread by the Nazi regime lead to brutal murders and cruelty that continue to shake minds. Join RT to examine some myths of the Goebbels propaganda that shaped the contours of the human catastrophe of WWII. (where did adolf garner all the material support (pr, banking, wmd on credit etc...) required to do genocides?)

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily (see also; forever) been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. wtf?

history of hysteria rapidly correcting itself (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314799)

the fear can be smelt? works both ways.... good sports with good spirits prevail.. creation remains undefeated... & repels deception by default

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily (see also; forever) been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. wtf? if it were easy we'd all be doing it?

start up nation (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#47314817)

the start up nation...at it again. how is it that a country of 7M people struggling for peace amongst hostile neighbors continues to out innovate the world.

Re:start up nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314843)

US taxpayers fund the innovation, because pro-Israel lobbyists have our political system so tied up that you can't get anywhere in American politics without swearing financial allegiance to that nation.

Re:start up nation (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 3 months ago | (#47318089)

There's nothing stopping US cities from adopting SkyTran too, except their own short-sightedness and stupidity.

It's like this with everything developed in the US. Other countries see how great the idea is, and adopt it, and it takes us decades to catch up. Just look at Deming's statistical quality control methods, adopted by the Japanese.

Re:start up nation (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#47318997)

Not really true. Most of the money funding Israeli innovation is internal or from international VC and Corporate investment.

Israel only receives 10% of USA foreign aid and is required to spent it at USA companies, so it's kind of like corporate welfare for USA industrial military complex.

Re:start up nation (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47314847)

the start up nation...at it again. how is it that a country of 7M people struggling for peace amongst hostile neighbors continues to out innovate the world.

Well, aside from the fact that the Israeli government's actions have been anything but a "struggle for peace," I fail to see how talking about building something that I remember seeing in a movie from the 1970's* is all that "innovative."

Perhaps if y'all want to be 'innovative,' you should try showing some humility for once.

* Logan's Run, in case you were wondering.

Re:start up nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315017)

Actually, taking ideas out of SciFi and turning them into real things is practically the definition of innovation.
Are you saying if somebody built a functional warp drive or transporter, you'd call it a derivative because it was done in Star Trek?

Re:start up nation (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 3 months ago | (#47316085)

Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!

Re:start up nation (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 3 months ago | (#47315025)

Yes, and in another movie from the 1970's, I seem to recall hyperdrives, lightsabers and a death star...

I'm not trying to make a political comment one way or the other, but implementing -- and the extent to which this actually is the case remains to be seen -- an idea from an older movie doesn't mean it's not innovative, from an engineering standpoint.

Re:start up nation (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47315277)

Yes, and in another movie from the 1970's, I seem to recall hyperdrives, lightsabers and a death star...

I'm not trying to make a political comment one way or the other, but implementing -- and the extent to which this actually is the case remains to be seen -- an idea from an older movie doesn't mean it's not innovative, from an engineering standpoint.

Not necessarily, but the fact that maglevs are far from being new technology makes it not-so-innovative, from a literary standpoint. [google.com]

Re:start up nation (1)

robinsonne (952701) | about 3 months ago | (#47314849)

A relative lack of complacency and inertia.

never ending holycost S&M (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314877)

wmd on credit deception rules where the spirit is absent

Re:start up nation (2)

turp182 (1020263) | about 3 months ago | (#47315041)

I RTFA and the company, SkyTran, is based in California, USA. In fact, the CEO is a former Navy Seal (he also has a lot of international experience, but none previously involving Israel, from what is listed).

They do have an attorney in Israel.

http://skytran.us/skytran-team... [skytran.us]

This doesn't explain why Tel Aviv was chosen as the first build out.

Re:start up nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317907)

Probably picked Tel Aviv because they are more open to trying new things there than most places. That's where the now defunct Better Place got it's start. The other reason is that it's the perfect testbed: small geographically, large urban centers, openness to new ideas.

Re:start up nation (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 4 months ago | (#47321867)

This doesn't explain why Tel Aviv was chosen as the first build out.

What the other guy said, plus the fact that cities everywhere else are incredibly hidebound. If it hasn't been done before, they're categorically against it. Then you tack on lovely things like the taxi system as it exists today, which means monied interests with a long and storied history of corruption are against it, and it's dead in the water almost everywhere.

Given how many factors were against SkyTran ever getting an installation, and how exceedingly universal those factors are, I never expected to see this. I was fascinated by the concept when I first read about it and saw their dinky little demo track. It will be interesting to see if their simulations of throughput were correct. Their claims have always been a little outrageous (but not necessarily false).

Re:start up nation (1)

Threni (635302) | about 3 months ago | (#47315061)

Because of the trillions of dollars of funding it's received over the years.

http://www.wrmea.org/digital-i... [wrmea.org]

Re:start up nation (0)

nikeets (3506999) | about 3 months ago | (#47315179)

I would rephrase that as "a hostile nation in a neighbourhood struggling for peace".

Re:start up nation (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | about 3 months ago | (#47315383)

Whether or not you think Israel is struggling for peace, the neighborhood sure as HELL is not struggling for peace. Israel has nothing to do with the internal conflicts in Lebanon; it has nothing to do with the Syrian civil war; it has nothing to do with the Arab Spring and the suppression of it in Egypt; it has nothing to do with Iraq's invation of Kuwait, or the ISIS incursions at the moment.

Re:start up nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47316605)

Nothing to do with internal conflicts in Lebanon?

You don't know much history.

Re:start up nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47319657)

Hehehehe .. you need to go do some reading about the history of Israel .. basically in 1948 the British and Americans were feeling guilty about how so many jews were murdered that they thought it would be a good idea to allocate a chunk of land as a new nation ... there was a minor problem of a prior claim to that land, but nothing a bit of arms funding could not sort out they thought ... fast forward to today and you see the dogs breakfast that idea was!

Re:start up nation (2)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47315677)

$360 for every man, woman, and child courtesy of US taxpayers goes a long way. That's 5% of all government revenues. To scale it to US equivalents, its as if the US got 10 NASAs for free.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47314883)

pallid bodies And Off the play area taken over by BSDI time wholesome and

I think I've seen this before (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47315003)

But I can't quite remember where [ultramodernstyle.com] .

An Idea Useful for California? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47315071)

Consider a "3D" approach? Bottom layer would be 20/40/44 foot cargo containers, next level up are people pods. Use the existing State Highway corridors?

Just a stopgap till self-driving cars (1)

nikeets (3506999) | about 3 months ago | (#47315159)

This is all nice and good, but I feel that public transport is just a stopgap till we get (pooled) self-driving cars. I'm talking about something like uber but with electric self-driving cars.

Re:Just a stopgap till self-driving cars (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47315359)

This is all nice and good, but I feel that public transport is just a stopgap till we get (pooled) self-driving cars. I'm talking about something like uber but with electric self-driving cars.

Which is just a stopgap until we develop teleportation technology. Which is just a stopgap until we evolve beyond the need for transportation at all.

Yes, I'm being sardonic. I tend to get that way when I see people essentially whining that existing technology only exists because non-existent technology doesn't exist - It just seems like a silly way of thinking.

Vaporware. Totally. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315373)

1. Only 200 meters of track is supposed to be built. it is projected to be finished by end of 2015.
http://www.iai.co.il/2013/32981-46034-he/IAI.aspx (Hebrew; the English version of the article strangely does not mention the track length)

2. The BBC article claims speeds of 70km/h. definitely not 240kph. read TFA.

3. Earlier incarnations of this story claimed implementations in the Tel-Aviv harbour area or alternatively in Atidim hi-tech park in Tel-Aviv:
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-12/nasa-pod-transports-close-to-reality-in-tel-aviv
pay attention to the estimate of 18 months to finish construction. this was in March. 2012. never happened.

4. Israel has an excellent reputation for innovation. no argument there.

5. Israel also has a reputation for infrastructure projects that take much longer to complete than planned. and for neglecting to invest in infrastructure in general.

6. Tel-Aviv has no subway and no tram. traffic and parking are pretty bad. talks of building a subway have been around for ~40 years. no government/mayor is actually doing that because it will take more than one term to complete...

7. in the entire Israel there is 1 (one) operational subway line, the Carmelit, which is a whopping 1.8km (1.1 mile) long. it was build in the 1950s.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmelit

disclaimer: I live in Tel-Aviv.

Re:Vaporware. Totally. (1)

Sun (104778) | about 3 months ago | (#47317395)

While I agree with a lot of what you said, it is not completely true.

Jerusalem now has an (above ground, so not technically a subway) train throughout the city. It did take longer than planned, (and I believe was over budget too), but did, finally, happen. It definitely took more than one mayoral tenure to complete.

Yes, the Tel Aviv subway is now a running joke, and has been for about two decades. Then again, so was the Tel Aviv central bus station (took 40 years to complete and is under utilized, but complete it, eventually, did).

Just because something is a running joke doesn't mean it will not, eventually, happen. See "Duke Nukem Forever".

Shachar

Re:Vaporware. Totally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317605)

Yes, the Tel Aviv subway is now a running joke, and has been for about two decades. Then again, so was the Tel Aviv central bus station (took 40 years to complete and is under utilized, but complete it, eventually, did).

But I can dream about being in a maglev pod while I am stuck on the Ayalon. As I was today. For a while. Burning up my 7.50/liter gas.

Re:Vaporware. Totally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317623)

Jerusalem now has an (above ground, so not technically a subway) train throughout the city.

Dude, I run faster than that thing. And it's overcrowded. I took it three times and now take a bus/walk/drive when I want to get somewhere in Jerusalem. I sometimes can even find a parking spot.

The article quotes a top speed of 70km/ not 240k/h (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315437)

The linked BBC article quotes a top speed of 70km/ not 240k/h

What's the obsession with 150 MPH? (1)

dkman (863999) | about 3 months ago | (#47315659)

If I don't need to pay attention to what's going on I'm perfectly happy with 30 MPH. And that way when it does fail people don't need to die (it's built by man and maintained by man, it will fail in some way, shape, or form at some point). If I smack the ground at 150 MPH I splat, it's a done deal. If I hit the ground at 30 MPH it hurts like hell, but I have a good chance to survive.

Re:What's the obsession with 150 MPH? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 3 months ago | (#47318139)

Two reasons:
1) Why go slower than you have to? Your car will go 10mph just fine, why not drive at that speed all the time?

2) SkyTran is envisioned to do more than short-distance commuting; eventually the idea is to build it out enough that you can travel between cities in it. Yes, inside a denser city, the speeds would probably be kept lower, but when you have 100+ miles to go, why would you limit yourself to 30mph when your vehicle will easily go 150mph? At that kind of speed, SkyTran threatens to render inter-city passenger trains totally obsolete, and also shorter flights.

you Fail it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47315783)

postS. Therefo8e

back to the (ugly) past (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 3 months ago | (#47315985)

Dunno about the system designers, but this Joe Dignan guy is either woefully ignorant or a total asshole. Nothing is worse-looking and intrusive to the urban (and suburban) environment than elevated highways, elevated "subway" lines, and the like. Just because there's free airspace doesn't mean it should be filled in.

Re:back to the (ugly) past (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47317423)

Won't you think of the homeless, and all the nice shady space that will be created?

Re:back to the (ugly) past (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317661)

Dunno about the system designers, but this Joe Dignan guy is either woefully ignorant or a total asshole. Nothing is worse-looking and intrusive to the urban (and suburban) environment than elevated highways, elevated "subway" lines, and the like. Just because there's free airspace doesn't mean it should be filled in.

Israel has a particularly unique problem. Whenever anyone tries to dig anything here something ancient is found. Construction projects pretty much have archaeologists on hand because of this. Then again I actually have an underground parking spot in my Tel Aviv apartment. But that was done in the 70's... when the world got shit done!

Re:back to the (ugly) past (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47320989)

I've seen a number of elevated monorails. Aside from the ones that are actual train size non-monorail monorail systems (I've seen them mainly at amusement parks), the "real" ones have a small shadow. They don't lead to the urban blight you wrongly accuse them of.

uhh what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47316797)

where does the article claim a top speed of 150 mph (240 kph)?

The best option to move forward... (2)

msc.buff (928148) | about 3 months ago | (#47316801)

A skyTran system is the best option for meeting personal transportation needs in the foreseeable future. Self driving cars are a waste of time/money/engineering because they will take decades to develop and still have to drive on our crappy over-crowded roads. We are running out of room to build new roads to handle the current traffic let alone any future requirements. Also, cars are not very efficient. Why transport 1000s of lbs of steel and plastic just to haul a few hundred lbs of flesh from point A to point B?

Trains and buses fail the usability test because people hate traveling like herd animals all packed into one big crowded and smelly car. People also can't control their travel as much and have to match the train/bus schedule.

I don't see skyTran as replacing the car so much as more of taking the major load off of cars. Commuter traffic would be greatly eliminated in high population zones if all the 9-5 traffic was dumped onto a skyTran.

Imagine jumping in a pod and cruising downtown for the game/concert and then zipping home. No high rise parking structures...no rip-off parking fees. The stadium would have an enlarged hub to handle surges in traffic with ease.

Imagine the competition to UPS and FedEx if new companies could use a Country-wide skyTran. Dedicated hubs could be connected to the system and same day shipping and delivery would be common place.

Imagine a manufacturer with their own hub. They could have skyTran pods delivering parts directly from their suppliers.

Imagine a farmers market fed directly with refrigerated skyTran pods.

Imagine all the fiber which could be laid on top of the skyTran network which provided Gbps Internet while you traveled in comfort.

I have been following the efforts of skyTran for YEARS and I am stoked that they are finally getting to build a system.

Re:The best option to move forward... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 3 months ago | (#47318155)

Exactly.

SkyTran will totally replace city buses right away, and then shorter passenger rail and light rail. As it's built out between cities, it'll replace long-distance passenger rail too, along with short airline flights. It'll also replace most car commuting. A lot of people will still keep their cars for other things though, like being able to carry stuff, or if they have kids. But the amount of car traffic overall will be drastically reduced, and "rush hour traffic" will become a memory.

The best option to move forward... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47321425)

Sky cars only carry 2 passengers allows light weight track, poles and cars reducing build cost. Unfortunately can't carry family of 4 or maybe 2 passengers with heavy luggage.

NEWESTEST (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47317397)

This seems to be a magical, new concept...
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuppertaler_Schwebebahn + MAGLEV

Why Maglev? (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 3 months ago | (#47319835)

What's the advantage of Maglev here? It is just using energy to do something that a wheel would do perfectly well without expending energy. The small frictional advantage doesn't seem to be something worth adding all the extra complexity and energy expenditure for.

Re:Why Maglev? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 4 months ago | (#47321935)

What's the advantage of Maglev here? It is just using energy to do something that a wheel would do perfectly well without expending energy. The small frictional advantage doesn't seem to be something worth adding all the extra complexity and energy expenditure for.

There's no extra energy expenditure if your electromagnets only provide motive force and levitation is provided by opposing permanent magnets. In fact there's energy savings, since there's much less friction to deal with and it's just as easy to scavenge braking energy. It is more complex, since controlling magnetic fields for motive force isn't quite as trivial as motor + axle + wheel.

In practice though, the maglev part isn't likely to happen any time soon. It complicates the hell out of material choice for both track and cars, since steel suddenly becomes an issue, and enough permanent magnets powerful enough to do the lifting job required currently costs a small fortune (it's neodymium or bust). The prototype uses wheels and I'd guess the first production installation will too. Unless it got built in Dubai, and quite frankly, I'm astonished that it's not being built in Dubai first. The first buildings on their 100% artificial island just opened...

Usual monorail/PRT problems. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#47321541)

This is cool, and certainly buildable, but probably not too useful. It has all the problems of Personal Rapid Transit [wikipedia.org] systems, plus the problems of suspended monorails, plus the problems of maglev.

PRT systems are cool, but to accomodate a lot of people going to different places, you need a lot of stations and track. If a lot of people are going to the same place, bus/railroad car vehicles are more effective. Lots of airports have tracked tram systems with vehicles/trains in the 10-100 passenger range, but none have two or four seaters. It's this scaling problem that's killed PRT systems.

Here's a small-car PRT system that's just about to open in Korea. [vectusprt.com] It's more of an amusement park ride than a transportation system. Note that the guideway is much heavier duty than in the proposed maglev system. This is typical of monorails that get built vs. monorails in pretty pictures. Once you deal with all the real-world problems, like high wind stresses, a truck hitting a support pole, being able to evacuate people from stalled vehicles, and such, the components get bigger. Compare proposed LA monorail from 1950s [micechat.com] with actual Chiba monotrail from 1970s [japanfinds.com]

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