In Brief

Hover cars to cruise past jams at 150mph

Israel's hover-car network will move 12,000 people per hour, equal to a three-lane highway

Israel has announced ambitious plans to ease traffic congestion in Tel Aviv with a network of hover cars that will speed above congested streets at 150mph.

The technology will be tested with a 500-metre loop of magnetic-levitation tracks that will propel two-person pods at just over 40mph, the BBC reports. The prototype track, built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries, is due to be completed next year.

SkyTran, the Californian company that will build the system, said work would then begin on a commercial system running through the streets of Tel Aviv. Further networks are planned for cities in India and the USA.

Jerry Sanders, the company's chief executive, told Reuters the hover cars would reach speeds of 150mph on the commercial tracks.

He said Tel Aviv was the ideal city to test hover-car technology as it has no subway system and is often gridlocked.

"Tel Aviv is a world city," he said. "It's a destination for people around the world; a centre of commerce. Israelis love technology and we don't foresee a problem of people not wanting to use the system. Israel is a perfect test site."

The first phase of the public hover-car line will consist of a 2.7-mile link with three stations, which will cost about $50 million to build.

While the tracks will resemble those of a light rail network, each car will run independently and passengers will be able to order a vehicle using their smartphone to meet them at a specific station. They will then be able to travel directly to their destination rather than stopping at every station like a train.

"It can handle 12,000 people an hour per guideway, and that number grows exponentially with each additional guideway," Sanders said. "That is more than a light rail and equal to three lanes of highway."

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