Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an MoU with SkyTran to introduce driverless suspended sky pods in the city.

The agreement is part of RTA’s efforts to launch driverless mobility in Dubai and expand the public transport network to meet the growing demand for sustained growth of the city.

The driverless sky pods are expected to become operational by the end of 2020. The self-driving, zero-emission pods are suspended above the busy streets and can travel on tracks at speeds of 160km/h, reported The National.

SkyTran stated that the new transport system can accommodate more travellers than a typical six-lane highway.

Rail Agency CEO Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim Younes said: “The signing of this MoU highlights RTA’s continuous efforts to team with global specialist firms in developing advanced public transport technologies capable of attracting more riders by offering them safe, fast and luxurious transit experiences, besides curbing traffic congestion in the city.

“One of these solutions is developing sky pod units operated by ‘Maglev’ technology, which are characterised by their safety and speed, as well as the saving much of the resources associated with the daily mobility of people.”

Younes added that driverless sky pods are intended to boost the integration of public transport systems and support economic growth while attracting more investment, as well as improving the standard of living in Dubai.

SkyTran CEO John Cole said: “We are excited to sign this MoU with RTA and play an active role in realising RTA’s ambitious projects and initiatives in the field of public transport. It will also support the government drive to rank Dubai as the smartest and happiest city in the world.”

The MoU forms part of Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy, which seeks to convert 25% of total mobility journeys using autonomous solutions in Dubai by 2030.