SkyWay is the transport system that will free the land from roads
Comfortable and inexpensive traffic at a speed of 500 km/h and at a height of several meters above the ground — this may be a reality in the very near future for societies around the world. SkyWay Company is engaged in the development of innovative transport systems of the “second level”. Such systems provide the surface of the earth to pedestrians and plants, and all major transport lines are elevated above the ground. Currently the project is at the final stage of its implementation. The first “flying trains”, called unibuses in honor of their inventor, are planned for presentation in October this year near Minsk.
The inventor of this technology and the general designer is Anatoly Yunitskiy. He is a scientist, inventor, Director of two UN projects, a member of the Federation of cosmonautics of the USSR, author of more than 200 scientific papers, 18 monographs and has more than 140 inventions in the field of construction, transportation, machine-building, electronic and chemical industries.
Harmony of Sky Ways ― the sound of string rail
Anatoly Yunitskiy invented a method to accelerate the transportation of passengers and cargo up to 500 km/h, increasing in parallel the level of traffic safety and significantly reducing the extent of damage caused by transport to the environment. He has developed a fundamentally new transportation system, in which a vehicle moves above the ground, on rails, has automated control instruments and allows to ensure aligning the most effective logistics.
The basis of Unitsky string transport is the string rail. A bunch of load-bearing reinforcement (strings) stretched in the longitudinal direction is at the core of this rail. The outer shell of the rail is made of metal, and the cavity between the strings and the metal is filled with a special mix to increase the strength of the structure and to prevent corrosion of the rail from the inside. It also allows to reduce the noise produced by the rail when a wheel is rolling on it (therefore, the string rail does not produce noise pollution, which distinguishes it beneficially from a conventional rail).
The strings in the core are stretched in a certain way between two anchor supports located at a distance of 3 to 5 km from each other. It allows to reduce significantly the load on intermediate supports located in every 40―60 m and increases their bearing capacity by 8 times. Thanks to this design solution, the cost of construction of a string overpass is more than 30 times less than that of a conventional beam trestle.
Aerodynamics: a simple and elegant solution to the problem of air resistance
Raising the route above the ground surface allows to solve a complex of problems. For example, in urban conditions it gives the opportunity to relieve existing traffic arteries transferring public transport to the second level, or to build, without many difficulties, routes in areas with rough terrain, an unstable or high-density soil. However, the most important thing is that this solves the problem of the screen effect, which is fundamental in high-speed transport construction. The screen in Unitsky string transport is simply absent because there is no solid roadbed, which is replaced by two thin string rails.
This alone provides improving of the vehicle aerodynamic features twice. Combined with the fact that the maneuverability performance in a vehicle running on rails is not significant, this provides the prerequisites for achieving unprecedented aerodynamic features of the rolling stock resulting in an unprecedented savings of drive power. At present blowdown of the rolling stock models of Unitsky string transport in the wind tunnel gave the figure Cx = 0.05, which is close to the theoretical limit of 0.04. For comparison, aerodynamic drag factor (Cx) even for the best sports cars equals to 0.3―0.4.
The higher you ride ― the farther you go: low energy consumption at high speeds
The aerodynamic features are of great importance not only for speed, but also for energy efficiency of a high-speed vehicle, because more than 90% of the operating power capacity of its drive is spent on overcoming air resistance. The remaining part of the operating power in a wheeled vehicle is almost entirely spent on overcoming the rolling resistance of the wheel, against which Unitsky string transport also shows maximum efficiency.
The solution here is borrowed directly from the railway transport, which is using the “steel rail — steel wheel”. The efficiency factor of this system reaches 99.8 per cent. It also results in reduced energy consumption compared to using a combination “pneumatic tyre — asphalt”, magnetic levitation, air cushion, etc. High aerodynamic features and steel wheels together make it possible to reach the speed of 450 km/h with the engine power of only around 400 kW for a vehicle weighing 10 tons and with a capacity of 50 passengers. For comparison, the Bugatti Veyron, one of the most efficient cars from the aerodynamic point of view, will consume at that speed at least 1,200 kW, i.e. three times more, despite the fact that the weight of this car is 1.8 tons and it carries maximum two passengers.
When something nice is useful: the ecological component of the SkyWay transport system
Exceptional aerodynamics, low contact pressure and minimal rolling resistance of a special steel wheel on the string rail provides an unprecedented high level of energy efficiency at the SkyWay transport system. The energy consumption in fuel equivalent equals to 0.6 liters per 100 passenger-kilometers at a speed of 500 km/h, which is 6 times lower compared to a high-speed train. Due to the unprecedented low energy consumption for this high-speed transport the amount of harmful substances emitted into the environment along SkyWay routes is 5-6 times less than that along the railways, and two orders of magnitude less than that along motor-roads. The SkyWay system is able to provide rather high level of performance for establishing transport traffic inside the cities (up to 50 thousand passengers per hour) and on intercity lines (up to 1 million passengers per 24 hours).
The engineering solutions applied in these transport systems allow to build transport lines with the highest performance, spending tenfold less building materials than in the construction of paved roads, railways and other types of roads. The amount of construction materials needed for SkyWay road construction is 15 times less than that for a traditional beamed trestle. This is important not only from the environmental point of view, but also from the point of view of cost of roads construction that will be also tenfold less, which will impact the travel fare, making transport more affordable.
Raising the road to the “second level” eliminates the need for the construction of earth embankments and excavations that violate the underground and surface hydrology. It also reduces the areas of land acquisition for the construction of these routes:
- Preservation of ecosystems and biogeocenosis;
- Possibility of agricultural activity in the direct proximity to the route;
- Possibility to create large “green” pedestrian areas in the cities with an effective transport infrastructure.
The future, embedded in pictures: current stage of SkyWay implementation
The construction of a special infrastructure complex – EcoTechnoPark – was launched with the purpose of demonstration and certification of the string transport SkyWay. The construction of the park is carried out in the Republic of Belarus on the site with the area of 35 ha near the town of Mariyna Gorka. At the moment, the final stage includes the construction of two tracks, where different types of string rails will be tested in the very near future. Futuristically looking industrial prototypes of the rolling stock, which are ready at the moment, called ‘unibuses’ in honor of the technology inventor, Anatoly Yunitskiy, will move along these rails. These vehicles were shown to the world for the first time at the International trade fair InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin, where they became a true breakthrough and aroused great interest on the part of the specialists in transport sphere from all over the world. After the exhibition, the unibuses were brought back to Belarus and are now getting ready to conquer the speed limit of 150 km/h. This is just the beginning. The transport of the future will be able to develop the speed of 500 km/h in a more remote, but still near future. It will happen approximately in a year, when the developers intend to finish the construction of a 15 km track for testing high-speed SkyWay.
Looking around it is not difficult to notice that now is the most suitable time for the appearance of a new kind of transport. Traffic jams, dirty air, the ground buried under a layer of asphalt and about a million and a half deaths annually caused by road accidents. SkyWay moves above the ground surface, which means it cannot collide with other vehicles. SkyWay has an automated control system, which eliminates a possibility of driver’s error. SkyWay seems to be an optimal transport system judging by all parameters. Science fiction depicted the transport embedded in SkyWay images long ago. Now, this technology is being implemented in reality.
The project on creation of this transport is funded through the system of crowdinvesting and today anyone willing can participate in the process of implementing the transport concept, becoming at the same time the co-owner of the technology. If successful, SkyWay can take up to 50% of the market of transport services and then the investors will be able to expect significant dividends from their investments.