Reliance Strategic Business Ventures (RSBVL), part of Reliance Industries, has doubled its holding in the US-based SkyTran, a futuristic transportation company, to 54.46% from 26.3%, for $26.76 million.
"Our acquiring majority equity stake in SkyTran reflects our commitment to invest in building futuristic technologies that would transform the world," says Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, in a press statement.
"We are excited by SkyTran's potential to achieve an order of magnitude impact on highspeed intra and inter-city connectivity and its ability to provide a high speed, highly efficient and economical 'Transportation-As-A-Service' platform for India and the rest of the world.”
Other investors in SkyTran include Innovation Endeavors and OurCrowd.
Aimed at addressing traffic congestion, SkyTran makes personal rapid transport (PRT) or "pod taxis," small automated pod-like vehicles that travel within a network of specially built tracks.
They use proprietary "maglev" technology which the company claims is environment friendly and produces zero emissions. SkyTran's network requires advanced IT, telecom and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create smart transportation solutions.
This pits Reliance directly against Elon Musk's The Boring Company, which also has a HyperLoop offering for low-cost and super-fast transportation.
Musk's Hyperloop already has three ongoing projects in India: the world’s first commercial Hyperloop corridor between Mumbai to Pune, Bengaluru city to Bengaluru Airport and Delhi to Chandigarh.
He may also set up a Giga factory in India. However, while SkyTran focuses on intra-city travel, Hyperloop wants to bring down the time taken to travel between two cities.
Musk is taking a keen interest in India, with Starlink having recently set up offices in Bengaluru in India.
Starlink uses satellites to provide high-speed broadband, bringing down the cost and making it easier to provide services in remote areas. Services are likely to be available in India by early next year.
- Looking ahead in India: 5G, open RAN and fiberization
- SpaceX asks India for regulatory changes for Starlink
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading