Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has invested in a next-generation transportation company, skyTran, co-founded by an Indian engineer, Ankur Bhatnagar.
Schmidt has invested an undisclosed amount in Series A round of funding of skyTran through his venture capital fund Innovation Endeavors.
Arun is an alumnus of both IIT-Roorkee and IIT-Kanpur, and is the only Indian cofounder of skyTran, a NASA Space Act company headquartered at Nasa Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
SkyTran has developed a “third-generation” Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) technology. With this, the firm is hoping to revolutionize the face of public transport across the globe.
In next two years, skyTran plans to enable a network of computer controlled levitating ‘jet-like’ vehicle which will transport passengers above surface traffic in India, making the country its first and largest market.
The company is in different stages of negotiations with state governments and is currently targeting PRT opportunities in Jaipur, Bihar, Jharkhand and Kerala.
According to Bhatnagar, who is designated as VP for skyTran in India, “The average speed of travel in cities is expected to be 120 km/hour. That means a user can expect to travel from Gurgaon to Noida, which has driving distance of 53 km and aerial distance of 39 km in less than 25 minutes.”
He added that with skyTran transportation, the speed of travel would be 250 km/hour on intercity routes, which means an average aerial distance of 238 km will be covered in an hour. To put it in perspective, the journey from Delhi to Chandigarh or Delhi to Jaipur would just take an hour.
Bhatnagar said that he was hoping to start his venture in the public transportation space using mobiles, but came across Douglas Malewicki’s idea and requested to take him on board.
Douglas Malewicki is the inventor of skyTran and an aeronautical engineering graduate from University of Illinois. skyTran had previously received funding from US department of transportation for its nascent technology.
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