Space & Innovation

Will Driverless Taxi Pods Help Solve India's Traffic Problem?

The Metrino personal rapid transit project will have pods that can accommodate five people.

<p>Photo: ThinkStock</p>

Gurgaon, India gives a whole new meaning to the concept of traffic jams. In 2001, the city had 173,000 residents and today it's nearing one million, making traffic congestion a nightmare for most drivers, Business Insider reports. Luckily, the government has come up with what they hope will be the solution to constant gridlock: Metrino personal rapid transit pods.

The PRT is an elevated transit system. The gondola-like pods hang from a track, whisking commuters through the air to their destinations, high above the crowded streets.

The PRT project will be opened up to global corporations for funding next week. If the project receives enough money, it will include 16 stations along an eight-mile span between Delhi and Gurgaon, and will travel at an average speed of 37.28 miles per hour (60 kmph).

Each pod can accommodate up to five people at a time, but there will also be an option to hire the pod to skip the scheduled stops and take you directly to your destination.

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The project won't require any federal funding and will be built and run entirely by private financing. The company that funds the project is guaranteed to recover their investment from ticket sales within 25 years.

Overall, the estimated cost of the project is roughly $136 million. But the disappointing part is that even if the pods are filled to capacity, they could only accommodate 5,500 people at one time, meaning they might not be able to completely solve Gurgaon's massive traffic issues after all.