Science

The engineering company Unitsky String Technologies Inc. is a scientific organization accredited by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. At the same time, the company’s research activities are practically oriented and aim to improve uST Transport & Infrastructure Solutions, develop new business lines, as well as implement a number of related infrastructure technologies.

The company has multiple laboratory and research centers with all the necessary equipment and highly qualified stuff. The results of their work are practically tested in two high-tech R&D centers (in Belarus and the UAE), which occupy 60 hectares in total. The company has hundreds of patents, which are approved in dozens of countries.

High-speed transport

EcoTechnoPark, Maryina Gorka, 2019, uFlash on the rigid string rail overpass

uST High-Speed Transport & Infrastructure Solutions can only partially be classified as the scope of the company’s R&D activities. All the main components of the complexes, which will enable a transportation speed of 500 km/h, have been implemented by now. However, the claimed speeds and the corresponding operating modes have not been approved and tested in reality due to the lack of a high-speed string rail overpass of sufficient length (at least 20 km long) to safely accelerate uPod to the design speed (10 km long) and the subsequent safe braking (10 km) at the developer’s disposal.

This fact does not prevent the engineers of Unitsky String Technologies Inc. from continuing to work on the specifications for this business line, as well as to consider various configuration options for the high-speed track structure and uPod to solve the tasks at hand.

uFlash U4-362

The first uPod designed to carry passengers at speeds of up to 500 km/h was the six-seat uPod U4-362. The model was first showcased in 2018 at the large international transport exhibition Innotrans in Berlin.

EcoTechnoPark, Maryina Gorka, 2019, high-speed uPod (uFlash)

uFlash U4-362 is designed for intercity and international transportation. The high speed is ensured by the unique design of the string rail overpass and the aerodynamic design of uPod. Thus, uFlash will be capable of delivering passengers, for example, from Minsk to Paris in 4-5 hours. This is faster than by air if you include travel time to the airport, registration and other pre-flight and post-flight procedures in addition to the actual flight time. uFlash has a streamlined body with smoothly interfaced front, middle and rear parts. The transient interfaces are built based on special curves, which are the company’s know-how.

Specifications for uPod

  • Cruise speed: up to 500 km/h
  • Maximum longitudinal slope: up to 10%
  • Number of seats: 6
  • Performance of uST complex equipped with uPods of this type: up to 100 mln passengers per year

EcoTechnoPark, Maryina Gorka, 2019, uFlash on the rigid string rail overpass

High aerodynamic effect

  • uFlash U4-362 has the best aerodynamics among all string transport models. For example, blowing the six-seat uFlash in the wind tunnel revealed a drag coefficient of 0.06.
  • For comparison, the best aerodynamics among cars was achieved by the Volkswagen XL1 model with a drag coefficient of 0.189, which is three times worse than that of the high-speed uFlash.

Energy efficiency and sustainability

  • Lower aerodynamic drag allows uFlash to greatly reduce fuel or power consumption, while still accelerating to 500 km/h. At this speed, fuel consumption is only 0.93 kg/100 passenger*km.
  • Savings calculated as conditional liquid fuel by one high-speed uPod for 25 years of operation (this is the lifetime of the rail electric car) will be about 20 thousand tons at the cost of about $20 million. At that, 70 thousand tons of atmospheric oxygen will not be burned out and more than 100 thousand tons of pollutants will be avoided.
  • If the world fleet of uFlashes is at least 1 million (to compare: today there are over 1 billion cars alone on the planet), then the given savings should be multiplied by millions of times.

A variant of uST complex, which combines an urban transportation line (below) with a high-speed line (above)

The above advantages make the cost of uST high-speed transportation much lower than that of high-speed rail, maglev trains, and air travel

Track cost and applications

  • Construction costs for a high-speed uST track, excluding the cost of rolling stock, passenger terminals, stations and infrastructure facilities, range from $10 million to $15 million per kilometer.
  • At the same time, there are such factors as the total length of the track (the longer it is, the cheaper the additional kilometers), terrain (plain, sea shelf, foothills, mountains, etc.), height of supports (the higher the track is, the more expensive it is), strength of the ground (sand, rocky ground, marsh, etc.), impact of obstacles (rivers, lakes, gorges, etc.) and others.

2-in-1 version of the complex for urban (below) and high-speed (above) uPods traffic in both directions

High-speed string transport can be used for cargo and passenger transportation between cities and regions, countries and continents (including tunnels with zero buoyancy located in the water column)

EcoTechnoPark, Maryina Gorka, 2019, uFlash on the rigid string rail overpass

Interior

  • The interior of uFlash has ergonomic seats with adjustable backs and pillows.
  • The seats are equipped with heating, ventilation, massage and lumbar support. Displays with an in-built multimedia system are integrated into the cabin, they have a headphone jack, an interface in several languages, and entertainment (music and video).
  • The displays make it possible to view the route in real time, and also have the functions of individual adjustment of seats, control of seats, temperature and illumination, as well as emergency communication system with the control room.
  • The body of uFlash has a luggage compartment.

EcoTechnoPark, Maryina Gorka, 2018, uFlash’s interior

First tests

  • The summer of 2019 witnessed the first tests of the high-speed uFlash. We’ve tested the traction, brake, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, control and current collection systems, etc.
  • The tests were carried out at speeds up to 100 km/ h, since the short acceleration test track (about 900 m long) available to UST Inc. does not allow developing a higher speed. We plan to build a longer test track — 21 km, which will allow acceleration to the specified speed.
  • Full-fledged testing of a high-speed vehicle requires having 10 km to accelerate, another 10 km to brake and at least 1 km to travel at maximum speed. UST Inc. is currently in consideration of the possibility to erect a test high-speed track in a number of countries.

Novel solutions

  • Today, the company is working on improving the design of uFlash. New-generation rail electric cars outperform greatly the previously developed ones in all key parameters.
  • The double-body suspended high-speed uPod, which includes two unified modules from the single-fuselage high-speed uPods using traction electric motors and current collection from the support wheels, has also been developed and pre-calculated.
  • In 2021 we started the development of the high-speed uPod with a capacity of 22 people: with a central aisle, luggage compartment and sanitary facilities.

Advantages of uST High-Speed Transport & Infrastructure Complex

  • high level of comfort, safety and energy efficiency
  • low resource intensity and construction costs
  • preservation of the environment in the territories where uST track is erected
  • significant increase in world mobility and reduced cost of high-speed cargo and passenger transportation

Hypervelocity line

Hypervelocity string transport (variant)

One of the promising business lines of Unitsky String Technologies Inc. is hypervelocity transport. uMah is a uST complex, where uPods can accelerate to 1,250 km/h or more. The hypervelocity uPod here travels along a special overpass in a forevacuum tunnel and can transport passengers and cargo up to ten thousand kilometers, including across seas, oceans and hostile terrain. The hypervelocity uMah is designed to comfortably carry passengers between far-away cities, regions, countries and continents in three variants of forevacuum tunnel location: on supports above the ground, under the ground and under water.

Anatoli Unitsky, the author of hypervelocity transport, started his work about 50 years ago, almost concurrently with the development of the General Planetary Vehicle (GPV) for non-rocket near space industrialization, in which the speed of the conveyor-type flywheel in the vacuum channel is even greater — 12 km/s (43200 km/h). uMah then branched off from the GPV into an independent line and more than 40 years ago Unitsky proposed to connect London and New York by a hypervelocity submarine route. The vacuum tunnel in it would have been made with zero buoyancy and located in the Atlantic Ocean at a depth of 50 meters. The travel time would be 6 hours, which would be faster than by plane. There were no personal computers or computer graphics back then, so the illustration for this project was done in watercolor on paper. Then the author focused on the development and commercialization of a more down-to-earth technology — uST, which, in fact, branched off from the GPV and uMah technologies, and which, thus, became the progenitors of string technology and Unitsky String Transport.

Forevacuum tube tunnel with zero buoyancy is located at a depth of 50 m. The illustration is painted with watercolor on paper

Specifications for the hypervelocity uPod (variant)

  • Cruise speed — up to 1,250 km/h
  • Traffic interval — from 30 s
  • Performance of uMah complex — up to 50,000,000 passengers per year
  • Capacity of the passenger module — up to 20 people
  • Load capacity of the cargo module — from 10 tons

uMah in the territory with hostile terrain

Drive

  • Most of the available engine and propulsion options would be unsuitable for operation in the vacuum. Therefore, we determined that the best option for uMah will be a steel-wheeled propulsion system.
  • The motor-wheel, designed by UST Inc., can provide stable and safe travel at speeds up to 1,250 km/h.
  • For higher speeds it is necessary to abandon the wheel (because of excessive revolutions and centrifugal accelerations, which cause destruction of the wheel) and switch to the magnetic cushion.

Sustainability

  • The complex is highly sustainable, as there are no emissions into the atmosphere due to complete isolation of the rolling stock from the external environment. The electrical power required for uMah to operate can be generated, among other things, by solar panels installed on or along the transport tunnel.
  • Surplus power will be used to charge the onboard storage units of the transport modules and to operate the stations.

Track cost

  • The estimated cost of uMah double-tracks is at the rate of 25 million dollars per 1 km of track, which is considerably lower than any of the known alternatives.
  • The options of underground, above-ground and underwater construction of hypervelocity tracks have been elaborated, and the most cost-effective option appears to be the underwater forevacuum tunnel.

Linear city

Modern cities are facing a crisis, which manifests itself in transport collapses, environmental degradation, and lack of territories for further development. These problems can be solved by building linear cities.

Linear city (uCity) is a pedestrian cluster-type urban settlement in harmony with nature which creates conditions that best support the natural ecosystem. Transportation of passengers and delivery of goods within such a city is ensured by uST Transport & Infrastructure Complexes.

Like the high-speed line of uST, the project of uCity linear city can be attributed to R&D activities of UST Inc. only in part. Most of the solutions included in uCity complexes have been implemented and worked out in practice. In addition to the transport component, residential complexes, agricultural and biotechnological components, as well as elements of relic solar bioenergy, incorporated in the energy infrastructure of the linear city, have been designed and are being successfully operated.

The construction of uCity is based on the smart city logic, which means that the land belongs to pedestrians. Distinctive elements of uCity are multifunctional dominant buildings with integrated string transport stations. Such structures are to be found in every cluster. The buildings have technology to guarantee the full life cycle of the system and eliminate any environmental pollution. Several houses form a group located within a walking distance from the main functional areas of the settlement. The groups of buildings are combined into residential clusters with social services and energy supply complexes.

String transport in the linear city (variant)

The residential area of the cluster is divided into blocks, demarcated by a forest-park strip 100-200 meters wide, where you will find public spaces for residents and guests: recreational and sports areas, public buildings and facilities, sports fields, stadium, health center, medical center, stores, cafes, workshops, kindergartens, and schools.

Residential cluster in the linear city (variant)

Residential buildings in the cluster are combined into a single architectural and functional system — a long apartment block which is a kind of “horizontal skyscraper”. The size of the linear house, including its length, can vary in a fairly wide range starting from 100 m up to 1 km. Each house is designed to accommodate a family of an average of five people. The houses will have three floors with a basement, a living room and an attic.

Linear city. String track connects the buildings in the settlement (variant)

Each “horizontal skyscraper” in the cluster will be designed in terms of energy efficiency as an energy-plus building (in the European classification), when the house uses the engineering equipment such as solar panels, collectors, heat pumps, and recuperators to produce more energy than it consumes itself.

The cluster will be completely self-sufficient: organic food, clean water, green energy, safe transportation, other products and services. This will ensure the food, energy, and infrastructure security of the linear city even during pandemics, lockdowns, and other natural disasters.

Linear city: the bottom level is for pedestrians only (variants)

The roofs of such houses will be made in the form of glazed greenhouses (or orangeries), interconnected by a central communication corridor, which is designed for laying utilities and agricultural maintenance of the greenhouse.

Advantages of the linear cities

  • low capital and operating costs for residential, transport and infrastructure, and agroindustrial complexes
  • zero carbon dioxide emissions
  • better quality of life by preserving and restoring (creating) natural ecosystems in the territory of the cities under construction
  • considerable savings in energy consumption, the use of renewable energy
  • a significant difference in logistics and cheaper development projects
  • adapting the city’s infrastructure to uniform quality standards
  • solving the problems associated with conventional urbanization: no overpopulation in cities, smog, air pollution, traffic jams, and numerous accidents and separation of humans from wildlife

Linear city by the ocean (variant)

uCity linear cities will blend harmoniously into the environment of any natural and climatic zone on Earth. At the same time, urban development will not only avoid reducing the area of fertile land, but will even help to increase it. Thanks to uCity, deserts will disappear from the planet, and the Earth will be reborn as a blooming garden, where all future humanity — about 10 billion people — will be able to live safely and comfortably.