US$14 million testing facility in Sharjah now demonstrating capabilities of new uSky elevated rail project
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Unitsky String Technologies Inc. (UST), the Belarusian-based eco-friendly, safe and comfortable transport solutions specialised, has completed the first stage of the uSky freight and passenger elevated string rail transport system for use in global logistics at its test facility in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Marking uSky’s first commercial project launch, the company has set plans to increase its portfolio to 10 projects by the end of 2022. The first commercial uSky project will now transit from the “innovation” and “venture capital” stages to the “investment business” stage. In parallel, Unitsky will continue testing the sustainable transport solution prior to widespread deployment next year.
“This is a key milestone in our development,” said Anatoli Unitsky, Founder of Unitsky String Technologies and uSky Transport. “By leveraging our cutting-edge, proprietary technology, we are demonstrating the agility, versatility and capabilities that our cost-efficient, elevated string rail technology can bring to destinations. Tailored to support both cargo and passenger logistics, uSky delivers high speeds and performance of transportation (up to 150 km/h and up to 50,000 passengers per hour) and can be established at a fraction of the cost to other solutions with a minimal ecological impact.”
Investment in the design, construction, and certification of uSky’s urban transport and freight facilities in the UAE has already totalled more than US$14 million.
Stage 1. Urban freight and passenger complexes
The first elevated string rail transport project implemented in the MENA region includes both passenger and freight transport options. The rolling stock includes unmanned electric rail vehicles – uCar passenger modules and uCont freight modules – designed to travel on a suspended string rail overpass at speeds of up to 150 km/h off the ground.
The first line of the uSky complex could be expanded in its current location at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) to connect the technology park’s network of training buildings. uSky’s transport solutions are certified for transport infrastructure safety by TUV SW (Standardisation Certification), a provider of services in the area of certification, as well as quality, security and sustainability solutions.
Stage 2. uSky’s technology platform and high-speed intercity transport
The second stage is the deployment of a dedicated technology platform for the piloting and certification of the high-speed uSky line, in which rail electric vehicles will be capable of reaching speeds of up to 500 kilometres per hour (up to 600 km/h in the future). At Expo 2020 Dubai, the Unitsky String Technologies is presenting a ready-made hosting solution to participating countries, as well as companies operating in the transport and infrastructure, energy, information, development, agribusiness and other associated and related industries for export to all countries of the world.
Parameters for the deployment of the high-speed uSky technology platform are as follows:
- The required investment for the construction of a high-speed transport (up to 500 km/h) complex for research, demonstration and certification purposes – US$230 million. The length of the test string-rail overpass is from 20 km, while the required land area starts at 100 hectares;
- The investment needed to fully deploy the technology platform with all transport infrastructure and other associated and related technologies equates to US$580 million. The area of the additional land plot is 50+ hectares;
- The term for the construction and certification of the uSky high-speed transport complex (from the start of full-scale financing of the project) is two years;
- The term in which the technology platform will be fully established (from the start of full project financing) is three years;
- The speed of intercity high-speed rail electric vehicles in passenger, freight and cargo-passenger versions, the construction of a pilot site for which is envisaged by the technology platform is 500 km/h. Eventually, the speed will be increased to 600 km/h (using a test track with length of 30 km or more).
- More than 100 research and development activities and related technologies are to be developed within the proposed innovation techno-hub. These include intelligent control systems, coding and high-speed packet data transfer systems, machine vision and machine diagnostics systems, power supply and communication systems, passenger safety and behaviour monitoring systems, dynamics and aerodynamics of high-speed overhead string-rail transport and many more.
With strong demand for urban freight and high-speed intercity transport and infrastructure solutions in various countries around the world, uSky has already received government-level interest for the deployment of the high-speed uSky technology platform in their territory. In addition to the provision of the necessary land and investment capital, further deployment factors include:
- High land costs: uSky takes up an order of magnitude less land for development and reduces construction and operating costs by several times compared to traditional transport solutions. In some versions, the distance between supports can be up to 3 kilometres or more, allowing large obstacles – rivers, lakes, gorges, connecting islands and mountain tops to be crossed in a single span;
- High population density and congestion on existing road infrastructure: uSky solutions avoid large crowds of people in a limited space while allowing high citizen mobility, with passenger volumes capable of reaching up to 50,000 passengers per hour;
UST is ready to come to any country interested in implementing a project and developing innovative transport solutions in its territory.
The first stage of commercial deployment of uSky transport solutions in the Middle East began in 2018 with the construction of the uSky test centre in Sharjah – SRTIP, on a 28-hectare site.
Since 2017, the operability of the innovative technology has been confirmed in Belarus, where five types of string-rail transport complexes have already been erected on an area of 36 hectares for research, certification and demonstration purposes. Two more tracks are under construction.
Twelve radically different electric rail vehicles have already been designed, built in-house and tested on test tracks: e.g. urban passenger vehicles with capacities of 2, 4, 6, 14, 18, 24 and 48 passengers. Under construction are 16- and 25-passenger electric rail vehicles capable of automatically assembling into trains carrying up to 250 passengers, as well as unmanned cargo vehicles for the transport of bulk goods and shipping containers weighing up to 35 tonnes, including a tropical version for the two new uSky complexes under construction in Sharjah, which feature 2.4 kilometre overpasses to reach speeds of 150 km/h each.
uSky’s transport solutions allow passengers and cargo to be transported in the safest possible format, as the movement takes place above the ground without possibility of collision with other road users and foreign objects. Travel speeds of up to 150 km/h can be achieved in urban systems with a capacity comparable to subway. The cost of building uSky transport complexes is significantly lower (several times lower) than the cost of building underground and overground subways, monorails and other types of elevated transport infrastructure (when compared under similar logistical conditions).
uSky solutions allow transport to be operated in all natural and climatic zones and in all terrain conditions, allowing access to remote areas at a comparably lower cost of transport infrastructure. The cost of building the uSky cargo-passenger complexes (depending on supports height and span length, terrain and bedrock, design speed and traffic volume, frequency of stations and terminals, etc.) can range from US$5 million per kilometre. This cost includes infrastructure, control, power and communication systems, a string-rail overpass and a fleet of unmanned electric rail vehicles, called unimobiles (in Russian) and uPods (in English).