The J Pods solar electric system to be built in New Jersey

Interesting Engineering

The J Pods system was first mentioned in 2012 and now the solar powered system is going to be built and tested. Individual carriages will be suspended on a rail system in New Jersey and create an alternative network which is hoped to relieve pressure on the existing systems. The J Pods will suspend over existing infrastructure.


[Image Source: Jpods]

Cars and buses are choking up some of the major cities around the world and people have come up with many options to move away from vehicles that are dependent on fossil fuels. Many of the alternatives suggested rely on taking traffic above road levels. While they may be innovative, they do follow a pattern of mass transit and the network of vehicles all have to move together and they all have to stop at the same time. They are also only efficient when they are moving people en masse.


[Image Source: Jpods]

With the J Pod concept it isn’t dependent on large connected carriages. Instead, the J Pods are individual units that are able to carry only a few people. It is different from the standard type of rail system as each pod is controlled individually and can go independently to various parts of the network.

The pods will run on a bespoke software system which has been designed to be able to move, track, prioritize and direct the pods. This means that delays should be at the minimum thanks to there being no timed stops or a large amount of carriages that have to be moved together which can slow down progress of the system.


[Image Source: Jpods]

The J Pod system has been designed to be suspended below a dual line carriageway that is solar powered and built over an existing infrastructure. The system will complement the existing public transport and will provide an alternative to taking the bus, car or train.


[Image Source: Jpods]

The J Pods will be controlled through an interactive touch screen, with the people in the pods selecting their destination individually. The software does all the planning for the trip.


[Image Source: Jpods]

The inventor of the J Pods, Bill James, started out small demonstrations of the system by showing it off in shopping malls, theme parks and at airports. He then expanded to a full scale prototype and had this to say about the next steps:

"In a couple of weeks we will have a small ride-able network. We have 100 meters (328 ft.) of truss being shipped soon. This will be used to set two parallel rails for vehicles to travel on. This is a Rescue-Rail system designed for temporary use over broken heavy infrastructure after a hurricane or earthquake."


[Image Source: Jpods]

After the first demonstration there are plans to build a network of 300 meter commercial grade rails which have been nicknamed Kitty Hawk. This is going to be used to test the software even more along with allowing paying passengers to take a ride for the first time.

At the moment it isn’t clear as to what the capacity or size of the solar capture or what back-up or uninterruptible power supplies are going be attached to it.

If all goes to plan, the Rescue Rail Pod J Pod system will be up and running by late September or very early October. At the moment there haven’t been any announcements as to when the Kitty Hawk extended version is going to be happen.

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