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Otis Hovair Transit Systems is a type of hovertrain that replaces conventional steel wheels with hovercraft lift pads, and the conventional railway bed with a paved road-like surface, known as the "track" or "guideway". The concept aims to eliminate rolling resistance and allow very high performance, while also simplifying the infrastructure needed to lay new lines. Maglev trains attempt to meet the same basic goals, using magnets for levitation rather than air cushions.
Otis Hovair system is the only hovertrain concept seeing commercial service. Originally developed at General Motors as an automated guideway transit system, GM was forced to divest the design as part of an anti-trust ruling. The design eventually ended up at Otis Elevator who replaced its linear motor with a cable pull and sold the resulting design for people mover installations all over the world.
The first installation was the Harbour Island People Mover opened in 1985.
In 1996, Otis formed a joint venture called Poma-Otis Transportation Systems with the French company Pomagalski to promote these products. The partnership has since been dissolved and as of 2014 it appears Otis is no longer involved in promoting the technology. However it is still marketed as one of the Minimetro products sold by Poma & Leitner Group. The latest installation, the Cairo Airport People Mover, opened on May 15, 2012.
- Duke University Medical Center Patient Rapid Transit
- Harbour Island People Mover
- Narita Airport Terminal 2 Shuttle System
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- "The Poma Minimetro in Cairo" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2014.