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Masdar City trackless Personal Transportation System – Click above to watch the video after the break

Nothing says 'the future' quite like auto-pods, except maybe flying cars, but those aren't here yet. What are here are Masdar City's rapid transit auto-pods. Claimed to be the world's first trackless Personal Transportation System (PRT), the four-seat pods will theoretically be able to take you wherever you want to go in the city, sans driver. We say theoretically because Masdar City isn't really a city just yet (more like a collection of a few buildings, with mostly researchers and students living there), and therefore the pods only go on one route with a stop at each end (about 1600 meters round-trip).

Another big change in the works is the PRT system will no longer be underground. Due to the global financial crisis, Masdar's audacious (and expensive) plans to make itself a floating city 25 feet (7.5 meters) above the ground got scrapped, forcing the pods above ground. While its nice to see some progress from when we last reported on them, these pods (and the city itself) have a long way to go before they can be declared a success.

Check out a video of the Masdar City trackless Personal Transportation System after the break.

[Source: Marc Gunther]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      sounds a little rough. and not so rapid
      • 3 Years Ago
      Valid criticisms but remember the 1st cars were slower than a person running and difficult to start as well as very unreliable. The first airplane flew less than the length of a modern jumbo jet and that was after many crashes. Neither idea proved un-feasable. Quite the opposite.We should welcome the early efforts while working for constant improvements. The basic concept is what's important to keep in mind!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      wow...some work needed on that...sounds like hollow fiberglass over a golf cart...bang bang rattle rattle Whiiiiiiiinee
      • 4 Years Ago
      Interesting video! If urban planning and alternative methods of transportation interests you, take a look at this video featuring Colombia's new cable-car system: http://ecomobility.tv/2011/02/15/colombias-cable-car-system/
      • 4 Years Ago
      That pile of S$%T sounds like it's about to fall apart!
        • 4 Years Ago
        There are a lot of PRT designs, but they didn't choose from the best PRT designs for their project. Instead of drawing power from the guideway, this design uses battery powered vehicles that are heavier and more expensive than guideway powered PRT vehicles, and the batteries also drastically limits the size of the PRT system and the frequency of vehicle use. Heavier vehicles also mean stronger and heavier and more expensive guideways, too. The trough shaped open top guideway would collect rain and snow and windblown debris, though obviously snow isn't a problem in Masdar City, and it looks like it might be all enclosed. Speed is also limited, similar to an NEV.

        I suspect they chose this design because it was based on the model being used at Heathrow airport. Far from perfect, but at least it works.