Rail

NASA, Unimodal partner for advanced transport vehicle

Posted on September 8, 2009

[IMAGE]SkyTran-full.jpg[/IMAGE]NASA officials have signed an agreement with Unimodal Systems LLC to collaborate on the use of NASA-developed control software and human factors techniques to evaluate acceleration, jerk and vibration of an advanced transportation vehicle system.

"The control software was originally designed to control robots and other applications. The collaboration will help NASA better understand the software's usefulness, human performance and safety. This collaborative effort is anticipated to help NASA with its aeronautics and space activities, while Unimodal gets to develop the next generation high-speed transportation system," said Jeffery Smith, deputy chief of the Entrepreneurial Initiatives Division at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "NASA will receive valuable feedback from our systems software usage."

Per the agreement, Unimodal will contribute its SkyTran vehicle, currently located at NASA Research Park, and its advanced transportation technology; NASA will provide its Plan Execution Interchange Language (PLEXIL) and Universal Executive (UE) software to control the vehicle.

In the future, SkyTran will use small vehicles running on elevated, magnetically levitated (maglev) guideways, which distinguishes it from other railed systems. The vehicles are lightweight, personal compartments that can transport up to three passengers. Travelers board the pod-like vehicles and type their destinations into a small computer. Using intelligent control system software, SkyTran will run non-stop point-to-point service without interrupting the flow of traffic.

These vehicles will eventually travel up to 150 mph and move 14,000 people per hour, both locally and regionally. SkyTran will serve as a feeder system to other transit systems, such as BART and high-speed rail.

"SkyTran's personal rapid transit has generated serious interest with local, regional and state transportation leaders who are considering funding the building of the Unimodal maglev PRT system in the NASA Research Park," said Michael Marlaire, director of NASA Research Park at Ames. "This construction and new R&D partnership may usher a new green technology maglev PRT system into Silicon Valley."

"We're working with NASA and aerospace engineers to ensure aerospace-level standards that exceed the safety records of current transportation systems," explained Christopher Perkins, chief executive officer of Unimodal Systems LLC, based in NASA Research Park.

Both organizations will mutually benefit. NASA will receive feedback on its software's
usefulness in ground-based propulsion systems, while Unimodal will develop a
transportation system designed to eliminate traffic congestion, mitigate greenhouse gases and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

"For cities across the nation, SkyTran will create greentech jobs and launch a new era of public-private partnerships that will make public transit affordable to install, and profitable to operate," said Perkins.

For more information about Unimodal SkyTran, visit: http://www.unimodal.com/
For more information about NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program, and NASA
technology infusion activities, visit: http://ipp.nasa.gov

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Alstom to extend Algeria's Constantine Tramway

Alstom, which will extend the tramway by 6 miles, will supply the integrated system, tracks, catenaries, telecommunications and signalling, substations and ticketing equipment.

$8.2B invested along 20 miles of Valley Metro light rail

Economic development within one-half mile of the system has been stimulated by ridership that has exceeded original projections. Valley Metro began compiling development activity since construction started in 2005 as part of an economic development database.

Alstom to deliver 17 trains to Algeria

The Coradia Polyvalent for Algeria is a dual-mode train (diesel and electric, 25 kV) able to travel at speeds up to 99 mph. The train has six carriages and provides capacity for 265 passengers.

Fla.'s TriRail adds bike car

The new bike car contains 14 racks that will provide more room to maneuver bicycles on and off the train. A set of seats were removed from the lower level of the vehicle to make room for the bike racks.

Denver commuter rail maintenance facility Gold LEED certified

Sustainable features of the CRMF include efficient mechanics and lights for energy savings, water-efficient plumbing fixtures for reduction in water usage and specially designed windows that prevent thermal transfer.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close