On 7 April, SWI Inc., which owns the Sky World Community social venture ecosystem, signed a cooperation and investment agreement with Global Transport Investments Inc., which is acting on behalf of the Unitsky Group.
The subject of the agreement was a roadmap for the final stage of the project. It includes precise steps for bringing transport and infrastructure complexes based on string transport technology to the global marketplace.
Updating of «SkyWay Group development stages» as of March 2023
«The SkyWay Group Development Stages» (hereinafter referred to as the Stages) — is a document written at the very beginning of the work to create an organisational structure of scientific, design, engineering, manufacturing and other companies whose aim is to develop and bring transport and infrastructure complexes to the world market. They are based on string transport technology.
The plan outlined in the Stages was drawn up on the basis of analytical studies, an assessment of the needs for personnel and technological support, economic models and the study of international experience in the implementation of similar projects. The implementation of the Stages neither at the beginning nor at any of the intermediate stages had stable guaranteed financing and insurance against force majeure in the conditions of a long-term systemic global crisis.
On this basis, it could not be assumed that the algorithm outlined in the Stages would be carried out exactly as it was prescribed. On the contrary, the possibility of adjusting the sequence of steps, the content of actions to be taken and the time frame for implementation depending on various factors was envisaged from the outset. In particular, the 2016 version of the Stages stated: «Each transition to a new stage is subject to the achievement of the planned scope of work and targets, as well as the achievement of the project funding schedule».
The deadlines indicated in the Stages for the implementation of the work defined by the programme were adjusted during the implementation of the planned activities, taking into account the significantly smaller than necessary amount of funds available to the developer, as well as the obstacles of force majeure. Among the most significant force majeure events that negatively affected the growth dynamics of the project, the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic recession that followed it, as well as the political crisis associated with the tense geopolitical situation, can be noted. These and other events have affected the operations of the companies implementing the project and have significantly delayed many important business processes involved in bringing string transport technology-based solutions to the market.
In spite of this, most of the activities related to the development of solutions based on string transport technology were carried out within the original timeframe set out in the Stages, and in some areas the developers were able to achieve significantly more than originally envisaged.
Engineering Company rebranding
In 2020, after the product being developed under the programme was given its final shape by the developer, the core brand was revised, under which the technology was launched on the market. This marked the transition of the project from the «startup» stage to the «business» stage. The rebranding of the engineering company (developer) follows a logic of returning to its terminological and technological origins. The new brand in English — UST Inc. (Unitsky String Technologies Inc., until 2020 — SkyWay Technologies Co.) — combines both the name of the technology that started it all and the last name of its author.
Plans for the final stage
As of February 2023, the project is officially at stage 14.3. According to the text of the Stages in the 2016 edition, the current stage involves: «Continued work on the creation of scientific, testing, technological, industrial and operational equipment necessary for pilot testing, certification, construction and operation of freight, urban and high-speed SW systems, including rail-string flyovers, rolling stock and the infrastructure of the «second tier«. The actual status of the project and the work in progress are in line with the plan.
The next Stage 15 should be marked by the completion of construction, testing and certification of a test complex of a high-speed system and the creation of a sales salon of complexes for high-speed (up to 500 km/h) transportation of passengers and cargo, the conclusion of contracts for targeted projects of high-speed intercity and international tracks, as well as the receipt of advance payments (5%) totaling at least 500 millions of dollars. This was followed by an IPO, with shareholders receiving dividends on their portions and the option for shareholders to sell their portions at a market price close to the value of the portions at par.
For reasons beyond the developer's control, plans for the high-speed complex were not fully implemented by the 2018 deadline for completion of the development stages. The main factors preventing this were insufficient funding and difficulties in obtaining approvals in the Republic of Belarus to build a test string-rail flyover of the required length (from 20 km) for pilot testing (including speed rates up to 500 km/h), high-speed solutions demonstration and certification. At the same time, the main part of the project documentation in this area has been prepared on schedule. The remainder of the work — linking the project documentation to the natural and climatic conditions and the specific terrain of the high-speed transport and infrastructure construction site. A rolling stock was created — an unmanned rail electrical vehicle on steel wheels (uFlash) with unique aerodynamics capable of reaching the necessary speed.
In this situation, it was decided to shift the focus from high-speed systems to urban and suburban transport in order to capitalise on string technology as soon as possible. The algorithm for paying dividends to investors is implemented before all work on the creation, testing and certification of the high-speed system's test facility is completed.
The following is an extract from the cooperation and investment agreement that sets out the project's priorities (summarised) until 2030:
«The moment of transition to the final stage of bringing transport and infrastructure complexes based on SkyWay transport technology to the world market is timed to the start of operation of the first public uST cargo and passenger complex on the territory of the Republic of Belarus and the launch of a demonstration and test complex with a 25-seat Unimobile and a semi-flexible heavy-duty flyover with a length of 2.5 km in the uSky test and demonstration center ( Sharjah, UAE).
Named events are identified as critical to the implementation of the project as a whole and the business processes of a number of targeted projects.
• The start of operation of the publicly available system with a complete set of approvals definitively removes all issues of legal and regulatory support for the technology and makes it possible for the developer to successfully implement the uST solutions for the customer's practical needs.
• A large-span and a heavy-duty flyover with a 25-passenger urban Unimobile provide an opportunity to practically test and demonstrate the parameters of the uST complexes laid down in the feasibility studies, the work on which has been contracted for several of the currently most cost-effective commercial tracks.
The transition to the final stage of bringing transport and infrastructure complexes based on string transport technology to the world market involves a transfer of 1,000,000,000 portions at a discount ranging from 1:10 to 1:40.
The main plans for the final stage involve:
•2023 —increase the number of pre-design and engineering contracts for urban and suburban uST freight and passenger transport and infrastructure complexes (total length of rail-string tracks —at least 100 km);
•2023 — engineering company Unitsky String Technologies Inc. becomes self-sufficient with the money it earns from its work on commercial uST complexes projects;
•2023 — start of operation of the first publicly available uST cargo-passenger complex in the Republic of Belarus;
•2023 — launch of a demonstration-testing facility with a 25-seat Unimobile and a 2.5 km long semi-flexible heavy-duty flyover at the uSky test and demonstration centre ( Sharjah, UAE);
•2024 — exit of the parent engineering company Unitsky String Technologies Inc. to profit; number of new contracts awarded in one year in this and subsequent periods, – at least five (total length of uST tracks — at least 200 km);
•2024 — launch of a demonstration and test complex with a 2.5 km long rigid heavy-duty flyover at the uSky test and demonstration centre;
•2024 — launch of two uST demonstration and testing complexes with semi-flexible and rigid heavy duty flyovers in EkoTechnoPark ( Maryina Gorka, Belarus);
•2025 — start of dividend (money) payments to string technology investors. Dividends (money) in this case will be paid by the distributor of uST transport and infrastructure complexes and uST string technology licences, rather than by the engineering company UST Inc. which will perform design, engineering and author's supervision functions as well as research and technology work on commercial projects;
•2026 — start of operation of the first commercial uST tracks built according to designs by engineering company Unitsky StringTechnologies Inc. outside the Republic of Belarus;
•2026 — launch of the functioning of the technological platform for pilot testing and certification of the uST high-speed direction (uFlash), in which rail electric vehicles (unimobiles) will be able to reach speeds of up to 500 km/h (in the future — up to 600 km/h); obtaining a safety certificate for a high-speed transport and infrastructure complex Uniflash;
•2026 — signing of the first contract for the design and construction of the commercial high-speed transport and infrastructure complex Uniflash;
•2027 — opening of the first production line for unimobiles (uPod) and other elements of uST transport and infrastructure complexes from Unitsky String Technologies Inc.;
•2027 — opening of regional representative offices for the supply of unimobiles (uPods) and spare parts in the countries where the uST transport and infrastructure complexes developed by Unitsky String Technologies Inc. are in operation.
•2030 — commencement of operation of the first commercial uFlash high-speed transport line developed by Unitsky StringTechnologies Inc.».
Share of investors in uST high-speed complex technology
The project does not waive any previously announced commitments to investors, including the transfer of a portion in high-speed string-based complex technology. However, the funding available for the entire project period was considerably less than necessary. Accordingly, the portions of technology transferred to investors — was proportionately smaller.
Throughout Stage 15, the opportunity to invest in the project, gain and increase portion in string transport technology (urban and suburban, freight and high-speed intercity uST solutions) will be maintained. If all commitments to investors are fulfilled, the project reserves the right to complete Stage 15 until the full amount of capital foreseen by the Stages has been received and the technology portions have been retained.