In August this year, the fourth EcoFest was held in the Belarusian EcoTechnoPark, the key event of which was the presentation of SkyWay string transport technologies. The Techcult correspondent visited this event, tested all the systems presented by the developers and shared his opinion in our article. The publication caused a serious resonance among readers, so we decided to present a more detailed review of SkyWay string technology.
Transport has become an integral part of our daily life - so much so that we have already ceased to be aware of it. But the slightest breakdown of a personal car, the cancellation of the movement of the bus along some route or a forced walk in bad weather can cause a lot of inconvenience to the inhabitants of a modern metropolis. But even some 100 years ago, people walked several tens of kilometers a day and did not complain.
However, despite its total indispensability, modern transport brings many problems that the best minds of humanity have not yet been able to solve.
Disadvantages of traditional transportation
Consider cars and buses. We rarely think about their inherent disadvantages - and they are, and they are serious:
High danger. Cars annually claim about 1.4 million lives around the world. They leave more people crippled. Such a number of murders has never dreamed of all the most dangerous predators of our planet put together.
Environmental Impact. 40-60% of the pollution of the Earth's atmosphere is accounted for by automobile exhaust gases. Residents of large cities suffer most from them. Air pollution is an invisible killer, the danger of which is well known to doctors and scientists, but very little to the average person. According to WHO estimates, in 2012, 4.2 million premature deaths were recorded worldwide due to air pollution.
Low efficiency. The efficiency of a traditional gasoline engine is about 20%, and that of a diesel engine is about 40%. This is almost the technological limit of such systems, and it is unlikely for engineers
will be able to squeeze new numbers out of them.
Plugs. Traffic collapse fetters megalopolises every day, forcing people to spend sometimes several hours commuting from home to work and back.
The Dutch company TomTom has published a rating of road congestion in cities around the world. Indian Mumbai became the absolute world champion in traffic jams in 2018, in which the congestion index is 65% (comparison of the average travel time on free and busy roads on a similar route).
The second city in the world with the most deaf traffic jams was named the capital of Colombia - Bogota. In the morning rush hour, drivers there usually spend 26 extra minutes for every half hour of driving around the city, in the evening - 31 minutes. Moscow ranks fifth in the ranking with an indicator of 56%.
These are just a few of the annoying aspects of classic transport that we encounter every day. It was not possible to solve them in the entire history of the existence of the internal combustion engine. But what if not trying to optimize traditional technology, but looking for a radically new solution? And it, in fact, already exists and is developing very close to us.
String transport of the future SkyWay
SkyWay is an innovative transport system developed by the Belarusian design engineer Anatoly Eduardovich Yunitskiy. Anatoly Eduardovich spent more than 40 years on its creation and development - it became the work of his whole life. And today it is already embodied in reality.
Let's figure out what SkyWay is. Externally, these are small transport modules that easily and effortlessly slide above the ground along the string-rail structures installed on the supports. They do this very quickly: the speed of urban modules can reach 150 km / h, and high-speed intercity modules can reach 500 km / h. For comparison, the maximum speed of a subway train is only 80 km / h.
This video shows the SkyWay transport system in action. It seems that the cabins move easily and naturally - but behind this lies a titanic amount of engineering and design.
developments, "invisible" to the eye of the passenger.
Basic elements of the SkyWay system
A string rail or a string-rail is an ordinary continuous (in length) steel, reinforced concrete or steel-reinforced concrete beam, or a truss equipped with a rail head and additionally reinforced with pre-stretched strings.
The string rail combines the properties of a flexible filament on a long span between supports and a rigid beam on a short span. The flat rail head and the cylindrical steel wheel of the cab ensure minimum energy consumption for movement. The use of such a rail significantly reduces the rolling resistance of the wheel and, accordingly, the energy consumption for movement (5-7 times compared to road transport). At the same time, this technology can significantly increase the durability of the structure.
They are several times stronger than traditional bridges and raise the entire system above the earth's surface to a height of several meters to several tens of meters, which makes it possible to solve the main problem of high-speed transport - the screen effect. This solution halves the aerodynamic drag of the capsule and energy consumption for movement, and hence the cost of transportation.
Continuous structure of a string rail in overpass design
in comparison with a conventional girder overpass, it reduces the amount of used building materials and their costs by 15 or more times. For comparison, the cost of building a traditional overpass with conventional supports is from $ 100 million / km. And the cost of building a SkyWay overpass is from $ 3 million / km.
Purge models of innovative SkyWay rolling stock
(unibuses) in the air tube show that their aerodynamic drag coefficient Cx is 0, 075. This indicates their extreme streamlining, which provides a power saving for the drive of one SkyWay module of about 600 kW compared to the most advanced alternative ground vehicles. Cx equal to 0, 075 is 6 times less than that of the famous Bugatti Veyron, the official drag coefficient of which is 0, 36. This aerodynamics radically reduces fuel consumption and allows the capsule to be safely accelerated to 500 km / h. Energy saving by one high-speed unibus over 25 years of operation will amount to about 22 thousand tons of fuel, costing about $ 20 million.
Thus, each thousand unibuses with unique aerodynamic qualities can save more than 20 million tons of fuel worth more than $ 20 billion. At the same time, 80 billion tons of atmospheric oxygen will not be burned out and more than 20 billion tons of pollutants will not be generated.
The movement of SkyWay transport is carried out using a synchronous traction electric motor, combined with wheels into a common unit - a motor-wheel, which makes it possible to exclude transmitting units and, accordingly, reduce the dimensions, weight and cost of the drive.
The electric motor is the most efficient and environmentally friendly solution for transportation systems today. Recall that the efficiency of a gasoline engine is about 20%. The efficiency of a powerful electric motor-wheel is at least 96%. At the same time, it is distinguished by low power consumption, thermal and vibration resistance, low noise level, high torque and allows fast and uniform acceleration of a unibus to 500 km / h, as well as to overcome slopes of up to 30 °. In addition, the electric motor with direct wheel drive has another important advantage: it will significantly save energy costs of the future world network of SkyWay high-speed roads - up to 4 billion tons per year in fuel equivalent. That is, exactly as much as oil is produced annually all over the world.
Intelligent Control System
Each transport module is equipped with its own intelligent control system. It continuously reads information about everything that happens on the track, inside and around the cabin, analyzes this data and monitors the progress of the route assignment. This allows you to exclude the human factor from transport management and ensure the highest level of traffic safety.
Also, an intelligent control system allows you to minimize the interval of movement between capsules - up to 20-25 seconds. For comparison, the safe interval for metro trains is at least 1-2 minutes.
Benefits of SkyWay transport
Safety in the development of SkyWay transport systems is at the forefront. It is achieved in many ways. First, the exclusion of the human factor. The central intelligent control system controls the entire transport complex in accordance with the assigned tasks. It monitors the speed and safety of movement, combines the flows and reacts to the wishes of each individual client in order to provide him with maximum comfort. Also, it calculates the most convenient and optimal route assignments with constant updating of incoming data.
Secondly, by raising the track structure above the ground. No traffic jams, no gaping pedestrians, no self-confident cyclists.
Thirdly, the presence of an anti-derailment system, which further increases traffic safety by another 10 times.
Fourthly, the presence of machine vision, which allows you to control the situation inside the cabin and quickly react, for example, if one of the passengers becomes ill. In addition, the system monitors the situation outside the vehicle. So, recently the general designer of the company demonstrated how Unibus can "distinguish" a person near the highway, even if he hides.
Highly environmentally friendly
It is practically not required for laying SkyWay routes
extraction of soil, and the routes themselves pass above the ground, which
reduces their impact on the surrounding ecosystems, in fact, to zero.
For the movement of the modules, environmentally friendly electric motors are used, and the outstanding aerodynamic characteristics of the rolling stock allow minimizing energy consumption and reducing the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
Also, string rails produce much less noise than conventional railway rails, and a decrease in this indicator is achieved, first of all, due to the use of special concrete to fill them.
Thanks to the use of an electric motor and independent overhead routes, the efficiency of the SkyWay system surpasses the capabilities of modern modes of transport.
The peak throughput of the SkyWay transport system with a 20-hour operation is 360 thousand people per day in one direction (taking into account the two-second permitted interval, as well as the 10-seat base capacity of a single module). For a bidirectional system, the peak throughput is 720, 000 people per day. SkyWay productivity can be further increased by increasing the capacity of modules and combining them into trains.
Low cost of construction of routes, low energy consumption and high service life of the track structure and rolling stock allow to significantly reduce the operating costs of SkyWay servicing in comparison with traditional passenger transportation systems.
Traffic jams in the SkyWay system are impossible by definition - that's all
vehicles move along one line, and their mutual
the location is continuously monitored by an intelligent control system. The capsules pass over ground traffic and do not need traffic lights and do not need to stop to
But the most important advantage of the SkyWay system, in front of which
all the others fade, its full realizability is. This is not a project that exists only on the drawing boards of engineers, but a well-developed technology that has already been brought to life today.
To date, SkyWay specialists have developed 11 fundamentally different models of string transport, 4 of them have already been certified. The development company employs 86 design bureaus and more than 1, 000 highly qualified specialists.
The project was supported by over 400 thousand investors from different countries of the world, and in May of this year Sheikh Mohammed ibn Rashid Al Maktoum included SkyWay in the infrastructure development plan of Dubai.