New Urban Transport: Anatoli Unitsky on the Implementation of Projects in the UAE and Belarus
Hello, Anatoly! Perhaps, today we are in one of the most unique innovative places – at the site of your uSky Center which is located on the territory of the Scientific and Research Technology Park in Sharjah. Six months ago, a presentation of the first stage in the implementation of the new urban transport project took place here where you showed high-ranking guests and international media not only the complex in a tropical version but also the basic infrastructure necessary for it. Certainly, this event aroused great interest among the public. At the same time, you announced the further stages of building the complex. How are things going now and what has been done during this time? How are the works progressing? Of course, we do not stop in our work for a minute and continue to implement the project of innovative urban transport of a new type in Sharjah. You pointed out correctly that about a year ago we started pilot operation of test route No. 1.
We are now at the station of this route with a flexible string-rail overpass about 500 meters long. There are three spans here – 100 meters, 200 meters, 100 meters and two more unstrained sections of about 50 meters each. Thus, I repeat, the total length of the route is about 500 meters. It should be noted that our complex includes not only cargo and passenger rolling stock of an innovative type. Usually people perceive the concept of "transport" only as rolling stock.
No, this includes all the necessary innovative infrastructure of the second level. These are rolling stock maintenance stations a passenger station string-rail track structure power supply and communication system engineering networks and other components. During this time, precisely under the “field conditions”, in this hot weather based on real factors, we managed to conduct tests and pilot industrial optimization of all the main processes components, units, technical processes to work out the rules for the operation of the automatic control system to solve the issues of maintenance of the station. We also have a string-rail overpass an automatic control system, engineering networks there are a lot of them, landscaping and other structural elements. The next important stage was the certification of the uSky transport and infrastructure complex in tropical version It means that the design is not just images, it is a technical solution an industrial solution with all the main structural components in accordance with international standards in the United Arab Emirates which we successfully passed in 2021. The standards and requirements in the Emirates fully correspond to the global ones – this is natural.
All these previous works allowed us to determine the optimal transport and infrastructure solutions. Currently, two more test lines are being built on the territory of the uSky center. Now we are at the passenger station of the first line. It is not large, because it is a test station. Designed for a small passenger traffic. By the way, here is the Certificate of conformity of our complex, exactly as a complex.
Look how many components it includes – technology, units, components, station, supports. All this has been comprised in the certification. And now we are going to ride in a uCar of tropical version. We made this car in VIP design, because its first passenger was the Sheikh His Highness, who rules Sharjah. We actually redesigned the urban 6-passenger uCar of the usual version into a 4-seater in a tropical one We are inside a tropical uCar. As I said, it is a 4-seater.
Air conditioning has been intensified here the battery of the energy storage has been strengthened because cooling and air conditioning require three times more energy than that for movement. We are accelerating now – 18 kilometers, 20,25 The speed is not high, because the track is short here. Moreover, it is with saddles.
The saddles are designed for a speed of 60 km/h therefore we pass it at lower speeds. In urban routes, the stations will also be located closely so the speed will not be high either. For urban lines where the stations are close to each other such a route is ideal, besides it is very cheap.
Here, the track structure weighs only 50 kg per running meter (if a two-track route is considered). If we consider railroad rails, for example, R-65 using them we can build the same length of our string track of a sagging type. Therefore, this is a truly unique system and when it was being certified, even the certifying agency was surprised by the parameters that we have achieved. As regards resource intensity, we have a minimal material consumption. We show high results in terms of efficiency, reliability, durability as well as in terms of the impacts of the entire temperature range.
For example, the climate is tropical here and the structure can heat up to 70-80 degrees Celsius in the sun. Now we are operating the track in test mode, this is a mandatory stage before the commercial operation and it has proven itself perfectly. We already have sufficient experience in transporting a large number of passengers we service a lot of people, show our achievements. For example, anyone who has traveled on cable ways can compare that there is a far cry between the string transport and a cable way. The track is unstable there, it's a rope it fluctuates in the wind.
Even 20 km/h is quite a high speed for a cable way. And the speed limit for the cable is 40 km/h. Therefore, for urban transportation, string transport, which we have been operating for about a year now which has already been certified, is an ideal solution. There is another vehicle here. This is a cargo one, for container transportation.
In fact, a unique case occurred here. During construction, we planned a route for passenger transportation for a certain weight of the uCar, and the track structure was calculated for that weight. But our line has strength reserves – three-fold and even five-fold. The uCar weighs approximately 4 tons. Therefore, when the question arose of how to consider the cargo route, the cargo solution I decided to make a small container, and this can also be our standard. By the way, everything that is necessary for transportation will be included in it.
The size of this container is larger than, for example, a suitcase with which we travel or, for example, a car trunk in which we also carry various things. Therefore, we have made a small container with a payload capacity of up to 5 tons it was also in a tropical design, and we are already demonstrating two vehicles – passenger and cargo solutions. In addition, we operate them simultaneously. This proves that the line has a fairly large margin of strength because the load on it has actually increased more than twice now. And the route is operated in normal mode. The net cost of our freight transportation is very low somewhat in the range of a dollar per 100 tons per km or a cent per one ton-kilometer.
That is, we can transport a ton of cargo for 100 km for a dollar. Therefore, the cargo transportation market for our uSky system is huge. It's all the countries of the world, it's the whole planet. The control here (actual start, stop, movement) is carried out in an automatic mode. Here we have an operator who controls these commands – when to start moving, when to stop.
In fact, this is a control of all processes, because everything is managed by an automatic system that we have designed and we have developed it to control the entire complex, not just one vehicle. It is because there may be hundreds, thousands of vehicles on the route and millions of vehicles on the route network that will move at different speeds and be in different places. Some of them will be at the station, others will be on the way.
Cargo transportation will also take place at the same time. This complex system must be serviced, of course, from control rooms, where specialists, operators will monitor the functioning of all operations but the complex itself will operate in an automatic mode. And only in case of some force majeure or emergency situations a person connects to the processes and makes decisions on how to avoid an unforeseen situation. This is also our great merit, because we were probably the first to develop an automatic control system for the entire complex. Before us, control systems for one car were designed. For example, the Tesla electric car.
but even there the control system has not yet been completed. It controls only one car, but does not control the neighboring car other cars, does not manage garages, gas stations, roads, intersections, crossings, and so on. Unlike the system that works with us. And our solutions are quite simple. You see, we have a small control room but it services the entire complex, as well as those complexes that we are currently building in Sharjah all routes, all stations, all vehicles. Tell us more about other objects that are under the construction stage.
If we take line No. 2 (it passes here) the installation of 46 arch-type intermediate supports has been completed. The same refers to the construction work on the first anchor support. The foundation and the lower level of concrete walls on the second anchor support have been laid. Other construction and engineering works are underway. The completion of these works is scheduled for autumn 2022.
As for line No. 4, now we are actually standing under it the installation of 8 intermediate supports has also been completed here. The construction work of the engineering network on both anchor supports has been finished. Preparations for the installation of the string-rail track structure have begun.
We see scaffolding here, because the installation will also be carried out over an asphalt road therefore, naturally, we must mount the track without interfering with traffic. The installation work of the first stage is nearing completion. This is the assembly of anchor nodes on anchor supports preparatory work is underway to connect power supply. We also scheduled the completion of all works for the autumn of 2022. In addition, we plan to put this line into operation at the end of the year. At the same time, a new version of the urban passenger model – uPod has been developed and manufactured at our production facility in Minsk in Belarus.
this is a car with a capacity of 25 passengers. It will be operated here on this line and will reach speeds of up to 150 km/h. This line will allow to develop such a speed. Thus, in general, we can say that all the work that we planned is proceeding according to schedule despite all the challenges and problems that we have to face now due to the specific geopolitical situation in the world.
You told us about the new model of urban transport that your Belarusian team was working on. What other work is currently underway at your head office in Minsk? In Minsk, first of all, work is actively underway within the framework of commercial projects at various stages of implementation. There are many of them, and it is necessary to take into account that the project cycle always takes a certain time, sometimes years.
We prepare an initial commercial offer then, if the customer's interest is confirmed, we proceed to a feasibility study and only after that we start project designing works. This is quite a long stage sometimes several years pass from the first acquaintance with the client to the contract for project designing. Therefore, dozens of directions with different progress are being undertaken in parallel. As an example, our agreement with the Dubai Ministry of Transport can be cited. We signed an agreement with RTA more than two years ago on partnership, cooperation, about their need of our string routes.
But the tender has not been announced yet. This is how long preparation for this contest continues. Initially, about 30 applicants from around the world submitted their solutions and RTA hired experts to evaluate all the proposed technologies. The experts have traveled all over the world, reviewed what was available, what was offered. And now there are only 5 offers left on the finish line.
And I can say that we are among the leaders. because our transport solution is the most optimal for Dubai. But everything will be shown by the contest, which, I hope, will be announced this year. So, you see, almost 3 years have passed before the announcement of the tender. In addition to commercial projects and related activities in Minsk and at EcoTechnoPark in Maryina Gorka we are constantly working on upgrading our technologies.
For example, a fundamentally new concept of a high-speed vehicle has been developed and is being improved. It differs from the uFlash and surpasses it in all basic features including the coefficient of aerodynamic drag. We have improved the aerodynamics and therefore we need a less powerful engine to get the calculated speeds. We have improved the comfort of the cabin inside and in the versions of the high-speed pod. For long-distance trips, we will outfit a bathroom there with a toilet and a washbasin.
Unification has been made as regards the composition of two identical modules when we combine identical modules in a mini-train. We have worked out the possibility of installing an additional section an additional module between them and as a result this vehicle actually turns into a small train with a capacity of 25-30-40 passengers. We are creating new models of rolling stock the potential of which for all systems meets the requirements that are imposed in extreme situations.
The development was carried out in full compliance with international standards for production quality including the use of experience of such countries as the USA, a number of European states, and, of course, Russia and Belarus. Work is also underway to modernize the running gear of the rolling stock to build the 7th line at EcoTechnoPark, with a length of about 800 meters. This is in Maryina Gorka. the line will actually duplicate the line in Sharjah, on which I gave an interview. It was the 4th line.
In fact, a duplicate is being built in Belarus, however, for northern conditions. And here it is in a tropical version. And in continuation of the scientific research topic recently there was news that Unitsky String Technologies Inc. received the status of a scientific organization
from the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. I congratulate you on this event! Thank you. the obtained status is a confirmation of the competence and significance of the scientific activities of our parent engineering company Unitsky String Technologies Inc.
We have been proceeding to it for a very long time and systematically. Those were years of painstaking work dynamic scientific activity of the company, and consideration of numerous nuances of legislation in our work. All this became possible thanks to the ideas and daily hard work the professionalism of the employees of our organization even the group of companies that I have created, where about 1000 engineers work today.
By the way, Unitsky String Technologies Inc. has become the 9th private company in the history of Belarus that has such an honorary status. Today we have 11 Candidates of Sciences (Ph.D.) 5 employees have the academic title of associate professor more than 10 employees are engaged in teaching activity at various Universities in Belarus. In the last 5 years alone, the company's employees have completed more than 40 scientific papers. For the second year in a row, one of the priorities for uST Inc. is the implementation of R&D with national registration.
For example, in 2021, 5 such works were registered Not every scientific research institute has such an amount of R&D. two of which were completed in accordance with the established procedure, and three are being presently implemented. With the assistance of the company, three international scientific and technical conferences were held employees published more than 100 scientific articles and 5 book publications – scientific monographs.
In November 2020, our own testing center was accredited. Tests are now in full swing in it. In 2021, the concept of developing scientific and innovative activities until 2025 was approved. We have already held 5 meetings of the Scientific and Technical Council, which was established in our company last year.
Over the last 5 years, 95 protection documents have been received for objects of industrial property rights, two thirds of them outside Belarus. This has already been received, and at least 100 applications have been submitted they are now under consideration. From 2019 to 2021, 20 Eurasian patents for inventions were registered a European patent was obtained for the first time in 2020 and two Chinese patents were obtained in 2021.