UAE firm Miral announced on Wednesday the signing of an agreement aimed at revolutionising transport on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
The memorandum of understanding with US-based skyTran Inc, a NASA Space Act company, will launch the study and implementation of skyTran, a personal rapid transit system, for the first time in the Middle East.
skyTran’s computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles employ magnetic levitation technology instead of wheels.
The patented high-speed, low-cost, elevated PRT system built at the NASA Ames Research Centre, will have cars zipping above traffic along magnetic lines from one destination to another across the island, a statement said.
The project aims to connect the current and future destinations on Yas Island and eventually link it to Abu Dhabi International Airport, it added.
Mohamed Abdulla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, said: “Innovation remains at the heart of what we do on Yas Island. While we continue to build world-class destinations and expand Yas Island, it is imperative that we are able to implement an urban transportation solution which is not only energy efficient but also adds another level of excitement to our visitors’ experiences.
“With skyTran, we have a partner who not only shares our vision for innovation in Abu Dhabi, but are developing a service whi ch will transform the Yas Island experience, and grow our appeal to the millions of residents and tourists who visit us from the UAE and across the world.”
The statement said skyTran’s design will allow for expansion of its network with ease, where more tracks can be installed and additional vehicles added to the network to manage increased demand.
Yas Island currently attracts over 25 million visitors every year to attractions which include Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit. With the opening of the Warner Bros theme park in 2018, visitors to Yas Island from around the world is expected to grow to over 30 million.
In April, Miral and global entertainment giant Warner Bros announced that its $1 billion themed destination is set to open in Abu Dhabi in 2018.
The development will include the only Warner Bros branded hotel alongside a theme park, and construction is underway.
Warner Bros said the first phase of the project is set to open in 2018, adding that rides are in production.