The SkyWay project loudly announced about itself at the World Government Summit in the UAE. At the event, it was presented by the Dubai Ministry of Transport as its new project: Dubai Sky Pods. The support from the leadership of the Arab Emirates was confirmed by the visit of the Emir of Dubai, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with his son Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
The SkyWay string transport project has come a long and difficult way to become one of the UAE’s official infrastructure projects. Let us tell you about the main events that led to that.
The author of the SkyWay project Anatoliy Yunitskiy looked closely at the UAE as a promising direction long ago, back in the days of the testing ground in the Ozyory, Russia. In the 2000s, the first projects for the region were developed. Among them, there was a version of the track «Abu Dhabi– Dubai – Sharjah». At the same time, the first business trips to Dubai and Abu Dhabi took place. The UAE became a platform for negotiations with local authorities and representatives of international business.
The Arab direction was important, but not the only one. In parallel, there was carried out work in India, Indonesia, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Russia & other countries. The promotion of the project in the business environment and in government circles gave the SkyWay project the necessary understanding of the market and allowed to create the Skyway transport systems as we see them today.
Future Cities Show
Negotiations, trips, visits & exhibitions around the world eventually attracted the attention of the top management of the Arab Emirates to the SkyWay project. Since 2015, the work in the UAE has intensified. The line ministries and the highest level of public administration got to know about the project. It was going to be a big event at which the SkyWay project was to publicly declare its ambitions in the UAE. The exhibition Future Cities Show 2018 in Dubai became such an event.
That time, the Dubai media wrote about SkyWay: “A lightweight elevated transport system, which is several times less costly than conventional rail transport systems, can become a big leap in the development of logistics in the UAE.”
The exhibition visitors found the novelty interesting, and the media replicated photos of the SkyWay transport modules. But the main events took place behind the scenes of the event. There were the final stages of negotiations on the construction of the Innovation Centre in Sharjah, but the company’s management will talk about this only in the summer of 2018.
Anatoliy Yunitskiy’s speech at the EcoFest 2018
The results of the Future Cities Show assigned the United Arab Emirates as the main focus of work for SkyWay. Immediately after the exhibition, there began bilateral visits of representatives of CJSC «String Technologies» and local authorities, during which the details of future projects were being discussed. The News Service followed the events, but could only tell about them in brief and in general.
“About six months ago, I started looking for the possibility of building the high-speed test facility in another country. Today, I can name this country: it is the United Arab Emirates. We have received the support of the government of this country.
They have already demonstrated how they need the string roads. We have been allocated the land, a total of more than 50 hectares, for two SkyWay technological platforms: one is a 2.5-kilometre section for urban and cargo complexes, including for the transportation of sea containers weighing up to 35 tons, where we plan to get a speed of 150 km/h; the second one is a 25-kilometre section, where we plan to get the speed of 600 km/h, with 60-kilometre section as an extension, where in the future, we will build a fore-vacuum pipe Hyper-Yu and get a speed of 1250 km/h.
We will start the construction in the Emirates in September. Everything is ready for that. These are our first targeted projects, the so-called «related projects» – the prototypes of transport and infrastructure complexes under government orders in the tropical version.”
The preparatory work related to the Arab project is not only marketing and business diplomacy. New models of transport, architectural projects & all necessary documentation were being prepared for the Middle East. The complex work was done very quickly. We managed to report on the first results quite soon.
The construction in Sharjah
The SkyWay Innovation Centre is to become part of a large research centre Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park, which is in the campus of the American University of Sharjah. It will be a showroom for the Middle East region and a functioning transport link for local campuses.
The preparations for its construction began in the spring of 2018. The specialists of SkyWay designed and agreed with the Arab side all the nuances of the future Innovation Centre and persuaded to leave in the project all the know-how, not familiar to local consultants.
At the end of September 2018, there was held the opening of the site, on which the Innovation Centre will be built. If the priorities do not change, the first phase will be completed in 2019. Last week, Anatoliy Yunitski gave the SkyWay news team a thorough interview right on the Sharjah construction site:
In parallel, the designers were creating new transport models for the local inhospitable climate.
The string transport was presented to the Crown Prince of Dubai
While in Sharjah the construction of the SkyWay Innovation Centre was underway, the project announced about itself at the highest level in another Emirate – Dubai. There, with the support of the local Ministry of Transport (RTA), the Skyway rolling stock was shown to the son of the Emir of Dubai, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. The young Prince heads the HN Capital LLP hedge fund and a new University, named after him. Thanks to his representation, the UAE received the right to host the World Expo 2020.
“SkyWay will use 100 times less space compared to conventional modes of transport with similar capacity, and the pods’ power efficiency is five times better than electric vehicles, requiring 10 times less infrastructure, than conventional transport systems.”
Dubai Sky Pods – this is the name of the new form of public transport based on Skyway technologies.
After the presentation to the Crown Prince, SkyWay status changed significantly. Now the project was not in itself, it was supported by the relevant authority and the UAE’s top management. This opened new doors for the string transport.
The World Government Summit
The most significant presentation of the SkyWay project took place on 10-12 February 2019. During the World Government Summit, RTA was able to present Dubai Sky Pods to the Emir of Dubai, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He visited the SkyWay exhibition stand with his son – perhaps it was the Crown Prince who recommended his father to appreciate the novelty.
During the exhibition, the Head of RTA Mattar Al Tayer once again expressed support to the project and spoke about how SkyWay should help Dubai:
“The Sky Pods initiative is part of RTA’s efforts to provide autonomous transport, one of the key aims of the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy aimed at converting 25 percent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys on various transport means by 2030. It is also part of RTA’s efforts to enhance the integration of public transit means, and to offer solutions for short journeys (first and last mile) enabling public transport users to reach their final destinations.”
On the last day of the Summit, between the representative of RTA, the CEO of Rail Agency, Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim Younes & the General Manager of Arab branch of the SkyWay project, SkyWay Greentech, Pavel Skoypeda, there was signed Memorandum of Understanding. In it, the RTA once again consolidated its intention to create a network of string roads in Dubai.
The history of SkyWay development in the UAE continues. There are still many things that cannot be disclosed, and there are many issues to be resolved. Follow the news of the project!