Reliance picks up 12.7% stake in futuristic pod car system maker SkyTran Industrial Investments and Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has picked up 12.7% stake in US-based firm Skytran that developes technology in the field of Personal Rapid Transit Systems.

Founded in 2011, Skytran is backed by Innovation Endeavors, the venture capital firm started by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

The investment was made as part of Skytran’s recently concluded Preferred Stock financing, the company said in a statement adding that it has an option to further invest $25 million in convertible notes, subject to SkyTran’s Board approval. Innovation Endeavors, WeWork founder Adam Neumann, US investor Tim Draper and others also participated in the transaction.

SkyTran, which has partnered with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in Israel, has developed magnetic levitation for implementing personal transportation systems which aims to address the traffic congestion problem across the world.

“The proposed SkyTran network would consist of computer-controlled passenger pods running on its state-of-the-art Passive Magnetic Levitation technology and would use cutting edge IT, Telecom, loT and Advanced Materials technologies to transport passengers in a fast, safe, green, and economical manner” the company said.

Following this investment, Reliance said it will work closely with SkyTran to develop pilot implementations followed by implementation of its network in at scale. Reliance would also play an active role in further advancing the SkyTran solution, especially in Telecom (4G/5G/IoT/Giga Fiber), Digital Platforms and Services, Advanced Materials & Electric Batteries areas.

“Our partnership with SkyTran reflects our commitment to invest in technologies. Reliance is well-poised to capitalize on its existing business portfolio and capabilities to accelerate the development of SkyTran across the world and especially in India” said Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio.

“Reliance brings tremendous infrastructure and technical expertise and the ability to execute at the largest scale. We believe our partnership with Reliance has the potential to improve the lives of people in India and across the globe” said John Cole, Founder and CEO at SkyTran.



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