Is NASA's maglev transit system coming to Tel Aviv?

SkyTran is about as close to flying cars as we'll get, and it could be coming to Tel Aviv.

Personal rapid transit isn't a popular form of urban transit. Currently, there are only three operational systems worldwide. But most personal rapid transit systems aren't like a SkyTran system -- about as close to widespread flying cars in our cities as we'll get -- co-developed by NASA and SkyTran Inc., a private company.

The computer-powered transit system uses light, high-speed pod cars that use magnetic levitation on elevated tracks, meaning they're also mostly silent. They have the ability to go 150 miles per hour (though, practically, wouldn't be used at that speed). They also have the miles per gallon fuel efficiency equivalent of 200 mpg. Each car holds up to three people and runs nonstop between the passengers' desired locations.

NASA and SkyTran have been collaborating on the transit system since 2009, with NASA providing software expertise and SkyTran focusing on the physical transit system.

And it could debut in Tel Aviv, according to Bloomberg Businessweek:

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Sanders of SkyTran says he’s in talks to raise the roughly $50 million required to build a line to run a little over four miles. That would connect high-tech Atidim Park with an existing train station at Tel Aviv University and a shopping and restaurant district at the city’s north end. After financing and approvals are granted, Sanders estimates that construction and testing will take about 18 months.

Other cities that have shown interest in the system, according to Businessweek, include Stavanger, Norway and two cities in the Indian state of Kerala. Here's a look at what they would get:

NASA Pod Transports Are Close to Reality—in Tel Aviv [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Image: SkyTran

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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