Dubai eyes 2 futuristic transports: pods on elevated track, green rail bus system

Published on February 5, 2024

Besides flying cars and robotaxis, Dubai is looking to introduce two  more ultra-modern transport systems to further elevate passenger experience in the emirate.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed on Thursday two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with private firms based in the United Kingdom and the United States (US) to explore the potential deployment of driverless pods travelling on an elevated track and a solar-powered rail bus system.

The two systems, dubbed as sustainable, eco-friendly and efficient means to transport passengers, are the latest futuristic technologies being explored to further enhance public transport in the emirate.

Dubai had previously announced plans to deploy self-driving taxis and flying cars, which are envisioned to be operational in a few years.

Latest deals

In the first agreement, signed with British company Urban.Mass, Dubai will explore the potential deployment of the Floc Duo Rail, which features double tracks that allow electric-powered transportation units to move swiftly and efficiently in various parts of the city, according to Abdul Mohsen Kalbat, CEO of RTA.

The plan is to deliver the system’s first operational pilot in the emirate, which promises to cut carbon emissions by 50%, and ultimately scale up the adoption of the new concept worldwide, Urban.Mass said in a separate statement.

The system offers capacity to match demand with high frequency “platoons” of pods, the company said on its website. It doesn’t require a huge footprint, including expensive tunnels and massive stations.

The UK firm also said it is now looking to raise funds through the London Stock Exchange Group’s Floww platform to accelerate the development and deployment of the duo rail.

“This agreement between Urban.Mass and Dubai’s RTA is testament to the strength of the UK and the UAE’s joint commitment to reduce climate change, paving the way for sustainable mass transit through technology that will change the way people move around the city,” said Oliver Christian, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East and Pakistan.

In the second deal, signed with American company Rail Bus Inc, Dubai will consider the adoption of another eco-friendly transport system that features vehicles travelling on a bridge outfitted with solar panels.

“These panels harness solar energy to power the system, ensuring its operation in Dubai,” Kalbat said.

“This system is distinguished by its contemporary design and offers the advantage of lower costs in comparison to similar transportation systems.”

Rail Bus is a developer of small, driverless vehicles that also run on elevated tracks. 

The vehicles are ultra-lightweight in that they require track infrastructure that costs about less than 20% of the budget required in a Metro system with the same length and capacity, the company said on its website.

Source: Zawya (Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria


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