Doug Malewicki
President and Chief Scientist, AeroVisions Inc.
04:49

A Cheap Way to Levitate

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Doug Malewicki’s Sky Tran invention is less expensive than a light rail system and incorporates many of the characteristics of the MagLev train.

Doug Malewicki

Doug Malewicki is President and Chief Scientist for AeroVisions Inc., a company he founded in 1974 and incorporated in 1980 for the purpose of developing, promoting and commercializing his numerous inventions. His current main focus is his super-aerodynamic, lightweight, high speed, low cost SkyTran invention – an on-demand, personalized MagLev transit system. In the early 80’s he set two official Guinness World records for achieving over 150 miles per gallon fuel efficiency on cross-country runs at freeway speeds driving his California Commuter. SkyTran will obtain over 200 miles per gallon equivalent while speeding along at 100 miles per hour.
Transcript
Question: What is MagLev and how does it work? 

Doug Malewicki: When you pass a magnet over a wire, it induces a current in that wire. If you run alternately, if you run a current through a wire, it creates an electromagnetic field. So, if you have a whole bunch of coils and you start passing some magnets over them, which are on this vehicle. And you design this all correctly; it will actually start lifting the vehicle off. There’s a repulsion, and it’s stable. So, now what happens, if you lose the power to propel the vehicle, you do not lose the magnetic levitation, the passive magnetic levitation. So, it’s super safe. 

With seven pounds of lithium polymer backup batteries in our vehicles, say we’re going 100 mph, and we lose all grid power, we can still go three miles and we should have stations every mile apart. So, there’s a big safety factor with passive MagLev. And again, there’s always had to be some kind of MagLev because we do not want all the maintenance costs associated with gears and little tires wearing out and we want the high-speed capability. 

Question: How does the Sky Tran system compare with the MagLev train? 

Doug Malewicki: Like the Trans Rapid MagLev train that I think goes, what I think 300 mph in Beijing for a short distance. The first one. If they lose power, they lose their levitation. You would come to a screeching halt. They have to have all kinds of computer, uninterrupted backup power supplies and things so that never happens. And you can design that. However, that is a huge train, a very expensive – just ridiculously expensive – pretty fast and very high maintenance that because their MagLev is so critical intolerance, they have to keep that track super aligned properly. Where ours is very tolerant and our vehicles are small, so everything is cheap in comparison. A lot less expensive. That thing probably weights a million pounds and our little vehicles at gross weight weights 750 pounds. It’s just that we have a continuous stream of vehicles and they have the one big vehicle. So, they are flying; if you want to call it flying, every what, half hour? In our case, if they’re going 300 mph, in our case you’d get there, boom, you’d be on board and going. So, you’d probably get there just as quick going 150 mph if we put it side-by-side with the Beijing’s Trans Rapid System. 

Question: How does Sky Tran compare to a light rail system? 

Doug Malewicki: Sky Tran is a much cheaper option compared to light rail because we’re lighter, smaller, and faster. We can move more people an hour, use a lot less energy, a lot less, or no land, basically. We can pop Sky Tran onto sidewalks where they have to – there 60-70 million a mile, a lot of that is just buying up land, valuable land. We don’t need to do that. We just need a two-foot post every so many feet to build our system and we can attach it to buildings. That’s the advantage of going small. And they can carry so many people, but even if they’re coming by once very five minutes, or once every three minutes, once you have a continuous system with convenient stations everywhere, you can carry a lot more people per hour. 

It’s very close to the automobile. Why have we started loving the automobile? Because we can get places faster, cheaper, more conveniently. Unfortunately, the fossil fuels – everyone is starting hating the fossil fuels. It’s just like back in the original days of this country, the Jamestown Colony was ready to go back to England, and then all of a sudden they got a product that people would buy. Guess what that was? Tobacco. And now tobacco is an evil product and fossil fuels are going that same way. And that was the second product that really made this country; World War II and everything, and all the technology based on fossil fuels. But now we’re becoming more and more aware of all the total disadvantages of it and it’s getting to be like an evil thing. It isn’t, but we will, with our little brains, figure out how to get around it. And Sky Tran is one good way to do that.

Recorded on February 3, 2010

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