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2 February 2019


Uniwind: lightweight, inexpensive and economical transport

One of the latest SkyWay developments is the suspended automated passenger transport module of the string-rail transport system Uniwind U4-651:

  • speed: up to 150 km/h
  • passenger capacity: 2 persons
  • weight capacity: 150 kg
  • system performance: 7,200 passenger/h roundtrip
  • power consumption (at 100 km/h speed): 3.27 kW/h or 0.82 liter per 100 km in fuel equivalent

We have previously reported about the purpose of developing this lightweight modular suspended monorail cargo-and-passenger vehicle designed for use at urban and suburban routes on a monorail track of string-rail flexible line with continuous circular or shuttle traffic. Potential areas of its application have also been designated: sparsely populated remote areas with severe climatic conditions without developed infrastructure. Nevertheless, we received a large number of questions indicating the huge interest of SkyWay project partners to uniwind.

In order to clarify everything, we interviewed Vadim Savchenko, Chief Designer of the urban transport complex from SkyWay Technologies Co., in which he explains the issues related to the track structure and the super-light transport complex as a whole.

Translation of the video:

Mikhail Kirichenko: Hallo! Here is Mikhail Kirichenko with you. You are watching SkyWay news, where we report on the developments and implementation of breakthrough transport technologies. After one of our latest news on the uniwind we have received many questions with the request to highlight on this system in more detail. Therefore, today my talk partner is the Chief Designer of the Urban Transport Complex Vadim Savchenko. Hallo, Vadim!

Vadim Savchenko: Good day!

M.K.: Well, we have recently met with you at EcoTechnoPark, where you spoke about uniwind. By the way, let's recall how it was.

M.K.: Vadim, would you tell us about your complex? As we understood, the peculiarity of this transport system is in some specific features of the track structure, its low cost. Please, comment on this.

V.S.: The main goal was to minimize of expenses for operation and assembling, i.e. the system should be extremely simple and cost-efficient having at the same time multi-functional capabilities. It should transport both people and goods, which is ensured with the rolling stock that has a modular design. We can suspend either passenger or cargo modules on this track structure.

M.K.: We arrived here in this frost not by chance. The wind is very strong today, nevertheless, we see that uniwind is coping with it wonderfully and is running at good speed. It is surprising, because it is just the beginning of running tests and start-up work still continue. How did you manage to reach such fabulous results?

V.S.: Traditionally, the distinguishing feature of our vehicles is their excellent aerodynamics. Anatoli Yunitski pays much attention to it at technical conferences. Of course, wind affects vehicles, but this impact is not strong due to our good streamlining. If we take such transportation systems that are used at ski centers (funiculars), the cabins there that do not have such an aerodynamic shape usually, are subject to much stronger vibrations. If uniwind passes by here, we'll see that it moves quite stably. Now we are just starting the tests. If we see that it is not sufficiently good while testing, we have ready solutions to stabilize it. Naturally, it will make the vehicle a little more costly, or it will be an expensive version with a stabilizer.

M.K.: Now we would like you to explain what provides greater economical profit from this system. In particular, regarding the track structure. Please, more details about it.

V.S.: In fact, besides the track structure, the complex consists of many elements, but track structure has the basic cost in it. That's why we did our best to minimize its size, cost and material intensity. Accordingly, while designing we arrived to the structure, which you can see now at EcoTechnoPark. One more positive effect is the minimal labor intensity in assembling. It is sufficient to erect supports, lay a coil-tubing line under it, then raise it and stretch. In this case assembling is extremely easy.

M.K.: So, you don't have to calculate specially the rail size, to place an order several months in advance with some foreign factories producing steel of certain quality, etc. That is, part of the needed materials is freely available in the market. Do I get it right?

V.S.: Well, if we are speaking about the carrying rail itself for uniwind to run, certainly it is a specially manufactured tube. It means we have to place a specific order with definite requirements.

M.K.: Then, what makes it less costly compared to that one used for unibike to ride?

V.S.: The minimal material intensity. The special steel that we see on the display here. With regard to the total volume of metal used for intermediate and anchor supports, the mass and volume of this metal is minimized. Yes, it is specific. Yes, we have to order it, but its volume is minimal. All the rest is an ordinary construction steel S-345, which can be purchased in the market without problems and quite quickly.

M.K.: What other elements are used in this transport complex besides the track structure, since you mentioned them?

V.S.: In addition to vehicles and the track structure we have such a component as an intelligent control system. Unfortunately, we cannot save much funds on it, because the pride of place goes primarily to safety in all our projects. That's why some optimization and minimization of parameters is also done in this component. But still the main cost falls on the track structure and we save greatly due to it.

M.K.: I see that the anchor support is also more delicate than in all other systems. Is it really so or is it just the impression it makes?

V.S.: If we wanted to minimize it, we could put it down to the ground level and would get an even more minimalistic design.

M.K.: But a road passes under it.

V.S.: The main purpose for us was to demonstrate the possibilities of this system. Here a road passes right under the whole line of our transport complex. We have shown that we can move above a road, over any obstacles, be it swamps, rivers, gullies, etc. In other words, we need two points and we stretch a track between them.

M.K.: Give us two points of support and we will overturn the whole world.

V.S.: Right you are.

M.K.: How complicated was this work? What volume of design documentation was produced by your office? How much time did it take you?

V.S.: As regards the timing, I can say definitely that the first proposal and the concept from Anatoli Yunitski was announced in January 2018. Based on this concept, technical task specification for all the departments was worked out in February, including those on project designing, intelligent control systems, vehicles and track structure. Then, using that technical task specification, we have worked out project documentation and design documentation on rolling stock. As a result, by the end of summer, we had the basic structures of the complex assembled at EcoTechnoPark. In addition, the vehicle was displayed on the 4th of August at EcoFest. From September through to December, we had final work on assembling the elements of the intelligent control system, on filling the tube. Thus, we have reached the readiness of the complex by late December and started full-fledged rides of uniwind in early January.

M.K.: What are your nearest plans of work on this transport complex?

V.S.: The plans are to check firstly how our theoretical calculations coincide with practice. If necessary, we shall make corrections. Then we will have to conduct the whole cycle of testing uniwind and acceptance tests to get ready to render this vehicle for production. Naturally, we will have to finalize the project design documentation according to the results of running tests, improving or changing it, because life introduces its corrections and nuances including specifics of operation in winter. Therefore, all of it should be checked in operation with performance trials. We should get the possibility to scale up this complex to avant-projects from customers. We should be ready to build these complexes at any time.

M.K.: Thank you very much. I am not going to distract you any longer. Please, get back to your work that is very important for us. Thank you. Sign up to our YouTube channel. Follow the news update at our official website. Support our project. Then all your business will be done perfectly, timely and needed badly for everyone and always.


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