How Reliance will transform travel with clean green pod taxis

Reliance has invested in a California-based company called skyTran, which is working on prototypes for cutting-edge pod taxis.

Reliance Industries is about to transform the way people travel. If all goes well, we will soon be commuting, or rather gliding in a futuristic, eco-friendly Star Wars-style transit system.

California-based skytran is working on prototypes for cutting-edge pod taxis.
California-based skyTran is working on prototypes for cutting-edge pod taxis. Image: skyTran

Reliance Industries has invested in a California-based company called skyTran, which is rewriting the rules of public transportation. The company is working on prototypes for cutting-edge pod taxis that will move like a tram along a track, but on a cushion of air. These cutting-edge levitating vehicles will be a boon for traffic-congested countries like India.

Skytran’s passenger vehicles are extremely lightweight and compact. It uses small concrete foundations and support poles just every 50 metres. Track is fabricated and assembled off-site in advance, minimizing construction time and disruption to communities.
skyTran’s passenger vehicles are extremely lightweight and compact. It uses small concrete foundations and support poles just every 50 metres. Track is fabricated and assembled off-site in advance, minimizing construction time and disruption to communities. Image: skyTran

Unlike the public transport systems of today, which requires stops at regular intervals, skyTran’s vehicles — armed with maglev (magnetic levitation) technology and integrated with IoT and predictive artificial intelligence — will stop only at your chosen destination. It will allow commuters to bypass irrelevant stations and travel at high speed for the duration of their trip. skyTran takes pride in calling it the “the very definition of seamless point-to-point travel.”

skyTran’s pod taxi is a driverless personal rapid transit system, which runs through overhead suspension or magnetic levitation. skyTran, which is not active on social media, has been secretive about the updates. Youtuber Ken Howard has extracted a non-sharable video from the company website and posted it on the online video sharing social media platform.

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Watch how skyTran’s pod taxis work

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries, has made it clear that the objective is to provide transportation-as-a-service that is focused on highspeed intra and inter-city connectivity, while facilitating environmental sustainability.

In 2021, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited (RSBVL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, increased its shareholding to 54.46 per cent on a fully diluted basis. The company acquired additional equity stake in skyTran for around Rs 196.94 crore.

skyTran’s vehicles are electric, which produces zero emissions and allows for high energy efficiency. skyTran has already signed an MoU with the Dubai government. It remains to be seen when this futuristic fantasy will be a reality in India.

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