Futuristic Pods Considered for Mountain View

One company said it can pave the wave of the future by building a magnetic floating vehicle that you would be more likely to see in the Jetsons.

By Lisa Fernandez and George Kiriyama
|  Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012  |  Updated 2:54 PM PDT
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The car of the future is no car at all. Mountain View city council has accepted a 20 year plan to install the Sky Tran Podcar, which would solve traffic problems around Google. George Kiriyama reports.

The car of the future is no car at all. Mountain View city council has accepted a 20 year plan to install the Sky Tran Podcar, which would solve traffic problems around Google. George Kiriyama reports.

The car of the future is no car at all.

In light of Mountain View being worried about too much traffic, one company said it can pave the way of the future by building a magnetic floating vehicle that you could easily picture on the Jetsons.

Robert Baertsch, vice president of  SkyTran, said the "pods" can move on a network of elevated rails, heading to and fro with a push of the button.

His Mountain View company has created prototypes of the  500-pound, two-passenger vehicles, which can travel speeds of up to 150 mph. The pods literally float on overhead rails using magnetic levitation.

No pods have been sold yet, and none are currently in use.

But Baertsch has gotten the green light from NASA Ames at Moffett Field to build a quarter-mile loop to try the pods out. He is hoping that Mountain View will be the first city to test the PRTs, or Personal Rapid Transits, to connect Silicon Valley commuters to the nearest Caltrain stop. He expects a system to be built by 2015.

He said he also is talks with Los Gatos officials to build a SkyTran loop for Netflix employees and in Menlo Park to shuttle Facebook employees between work and public transportation. The mayor of Sunnyvale told Baertsch he is interested in connecting a SkyTran loop from downtown to the Moffett Business Park.

Building tracks for high speed is about $60 million a mile, Baertsch said. Building tracks for SkyTran cost about $10 million a mile.

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