South Bays skyTran zipping into Israel

Israel will be the site of the world’s first public pilot project for a new type of elevated rapid-transit network.

A skyTran pod

SkyTran, which is based in the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field near Mountain View, is teaming with Israel Aerospace Industries to construct an approximately quarter-mile loop in central Israel of its lightweight, two-person vehicles suspended on elevated magnetic tracks, Reuters reported.

The pilot loop is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2015. If successful, it will be followed with a commercial network in Tel Aviv. Pending the success of the pilot in Israel, projects also are planned for India and the United States.

The vehicles are expected to travel at up to 149 miles per hour.

Jerry Sanders, skyTran CEO, told Reuters, “Israelis love technology, and we don’t foresee a problem of people not wanting to use the system. Israel is a perfect test site.” He did not disclose the project’s cost. — jta