Futuristic rail seeks China market

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Jerry Sanders, chairman and CEO of skyTran Inc, based in Mountain View, California, was in Beijing recently looking for potential partners to bring the company's magnetic levitation track system for personal transportation to China.

Jerry Sanders, chairman and CEO of skyTran Inc.(Photo provided to China Daily)

Jerry Sanders, chairman and CEO of skyTran Inc.(Photo provided to China Daily)

The company is headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center and is a NASA Space Act company, meaning that it has a cooperative technology development agreement with the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency.

On its website, skyTran describes its product as a "patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated personal rapid transportation system".

The company said China will be a primary market for its skyTran magnetic levitation technology system, which uses relatively inexpensive track elevated above the traffic and a network of "small computer-controlled, two-person 'jet-like' vehicles to move passengers in a fast, safe, green and economical manner".

Sanders said that the sky-Tran idea was first developed by a colleague who worked on the NASA Apollo program to take a man to the moon. "He realized that for transportation to be effective, it has to go above traffic. It's no longer sustainable to add cars to the road."

He said the company has built a successfully working demonstration system in Israel and is likely to be able to commercialize it in about two years.

"We've completed what we call our demonstration system, so we have a full scale system that shows all components working together very well, that leads us to the phase 2 where we run it all the time and collect data while we're planning our commercial system for Abu Dhabi," he said.

He said they are also planning a system in Europe and will be able to start construction there by the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

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