The company in charge of developing Yas Island’s leisure attractions has signed an agreement for a new transport system that could whisk people around the island in floating pods.
Miral said it had signed a deal with SkyTran – a company developed by Nasa – to develop a personal rapid transport system based on magnetic levitation (maglev).
SkyTran has developed a system of two-person, jet-like vehicles that transport people using maglev technology instead of wheels.
The company says it can move people at speeds of up to 241 kilometres an hour and is cheaper than other public transport options.
Miral said that the system would be used to connect “current and future destinations” on Yas Island, and would eventually link to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Mohamed Abdulla Al Zaabi, chief executive of Miral, said: “While we continue to build world-class destinations and expand Yas Island, it is imperative that we are able to implement an urban transportation solution, which is not only energy efficient but also adds another level of excitement to our visitors’ experiences”.
SkyTran said the system it had created would allow for easy expansion of the network at a later date, so that more tracks and additional vehicles could be added when needed.
It said the system “enables vehicles to travel at optimum speed and spacing in a safe and efficient manner”.
Jerry Sanders, the chief executive of SkyTran, said: “We are proud to be able to bring this path-breaking technology to the Middle East for the first time. With our access to Nasa’s technology and expertise, we are able to introduce a solution on Yas Island which paves the way for Abu Dhabi to define the Middle East’s innovative mode of transport for the future.”
Yas Island draws about 25 million visitors a year to attractions including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit.
Earlier this year, Miral confirmed that work had also restarted on a Warner Bros-branded theme park, which is due to open in 2018.
*Additional reporting by Emmanuel Samoglou