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(Pocket-lint) - Self-driving pods that are powered by the sun might sound like something from a sci-fi film but they're real. JPods, as they're known, are going to be tested out in New Jersey as its first personal transit system.

JPods are like train carriages only smaller and hang under raised trainlines rather than running on them. As a result they are able to accommodate only a small group but can be called and taken to specific locations more easily.

The JPod concept was created by science graduate and former US Army office Bill James. He said, about his team: "We're a bunch of West Point grads that looked at this situation and realised we've been fighting oil wars since 1990. So we decided to do something about it. Our point of view on this thing as veterans is that we need to be looking ahead at what causes the path to war and act in advance of it." That meant lowering reliance on foreign oil with a renewable energy transit system.

The result is raised JPod rails with solar panels above. This means the pods can be sustainably powered using just the sun. The idea is that these will be able to replace cars and, eventually, other modes of public transit. JPods talk to each other meaning they can constantly keep flowing in busy or quiet times without congestion.

Secaucus in New Jersey will be the first place JPods are put to use with a plan to have US-wide coverage by 2030.

READ: Tesla Model S update to use iPhone Touch ID as key and remote start

Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 22 August 2014.