skyTran is in news with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt investing with his venture fund Innovation Endeavors.
History of skyTran: In 1991, Doug Malewicki, a California Aerospace Engineer, conceived of SkyTran, a personal rapid transit, magnetic levitation system that would address increasing congestion, pollution, and energy security challenges. A decade latter, a meeting was held in 2002, hosted by John Kroft, PE, a Seattle engineer, that included John Cole, PE, Doug Malewicki, PE, J. Lee Wamble, PE and Dr. R. Paul Williamson. Following this meeting, the oversight company, Unimodal, was formed and incorporated in Montana to develop SkyTran. With the leadership of Sen. Max Baucus, a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Research Innovation & Technology Administration, was secured by the University of Montana. This funding supported the further development of SkyTran as a hydrogen-powered, magnetic levitation personal rapid transit system. Research and partnership collaborations with Unimodal were established in strategic locations including Los Angeles, NASA Ames in Mountain View, CA, and Seattle, WA, with central component assembly laboratory located in Missoula, MT.
More fascinating is story of prolific inventor Doug Malewicki : He is an engineer with BS in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering, from University of Illinois, MS Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University. Mr. Malewicki is also a skilled craftsman who understands machining, welding, advanced composites manufacturing, plastic injection molding, etc. He understands what can and can't be built and the economics involved in applying these technologies.Malewicki gained a lot of insight into assembly line production and the cost benefits of automation while working as Manager of Advanced R&D at L. M. Cox Manufacturing (1970-1975), as Chief Designer at Chad Industries (1978 -1979), as VP of Engineering at Industrial Support Solutions (1993-1995).
His patent: Passenger transportation system for self-guided vehicles