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Why Use Linear motors

Vectus Ltd - Personal Rapid Transport System


Force Engineering was briefed with developing a Linear Induction Motor (LIM) track drive for a Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system being built by Vectus Ltd.


The ability of LIM systems to drive the system without relying on wheel friction, allows the PRT system to be used safely and effectively in conditions where other forms of transport would falter, such as snow and ice. The motors are hermetically sealed in a stainless steel outer casing which allows the magnetic field to pass through unhindered but prevents the motors being damaged by water ingress, enabling the motors to perform consistently and reliably over many years.

Vectus Personal Rapid Transport system

Another benefit of using LIMs in the overall system developed by Vectus is the minimisation of site pollution and energy consumption. As the system is powered by electricity there is no pollution generated along the track and by utilising renewable energy generation, the system can operate in an environmentally responsible manner.

Energy consumption is kept low as the control system needs only to power each motor when required and then only to provide the relevant thrust to maintain the vehicle's desired velocity. As the system does not rely on wheel friction, gradient climbing is not limited by grip reducing the power input required. Another advantageous feature of this design is that as braking is independent of friction, the time and distance headway between the vehicles in motion can safely be significantly reduced.

Force Engineering also supplied a permanent magnet braking system to provide a failsafe and consistent stopping capability that remains fully operational in all conditions. The brakes can bring the vehicles to a controlled speed or stop in the event of a power failure or other emergency situation. As they operate without any physical contact between the vehicle and the track there is no wear and tear associated with their operation, making it the optimal low maintenance solution.

The LIMs used in the system are integrated with a sophisticated asynchronous control system, which allows for a great degree of flexibility in the system and managing g optimal performance during high load conditions.

Key Benefits of using Force Engineering's Linear Induction Motor for the project:

  • Increased operational reliability
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Increased capacity for vehicles on system due to reduced headway
  • Overall system efficiency
  • Quieter system operation
  • Reduced point of use pollution
  • Lighter, simpler vehicles because of track mounted drive propulsion


The LIMs and permanent magnet brakes supplied by Force Engineering are working within Vectus system to provide drive for an efficient, environmentally friendly, flexible and safe mode of urban transportation.