US-based mobility firm Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) have signed a pact to explore routes for the high-speed hyperloop transport system between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The agreement, which could see the first Hyperloop route available within the next five years, will reduce journey times for people and goods between the two emirates to just twelve minutes.
Hyperloop is a system that integrates a low-pressure pipe linking two stations which would enable passenger capsules inside the pipe to travel at high speeds of up to 1,200 km per hour.
Experts say that the cost of building a single hyperloop tube would cost just 10% of the cost of building conventional high-speed trains.
“We are now at a stage where, from a technological point of view, we could have a Hyperloop One system built in the UAE in the next five years. Our agreement with the RTA is the biggest step yet towards achieving this goal,” said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One.
Alongside the announcement of the Hyperloop system, the firm also announced a larger approach to the concept—integrating self-driving vehicles and more into its announced goals.
“Imagine stepping out of your villa in Dubai, into a self-driving vehicle that resembles your living room, and arriving just 48 minutes later at your office in Riyadh. That is what Hyperloop One can deliver,” said Josh Giegel, Hyperloop One’s president of engineering.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hyperloop One will work with McKinsey & Co. and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)—a team of architects and engineers—on a feasibility study sponsored by RTA.
At an event in Dubai, the company also showcased the first-ever routes from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, several Hyperports (the equivalent of a station or airport) throughout Dubai, and the conceptual interiors and exteriors of the individual passenger pods.
Dubai has much to gain for the Hyperloop concept being proven and deployed. Last month, Dubai-based DP World Group, the third-largest ports operator in the world, invested $50 million in US-based Hyperloop One.
In less than two years, Hyperloop One has raised more than $160 million, assembled a team of more than 200 experts, built a campus in Downtown Los Angeles, a test and safety site in the Nevada desert, and a 10,000-sq. m. machine and tooling shop in North Las Vegas.
Besides DP World, it has also established a global partner network with industry players including GE, SNCF, AECOM, Arup, Systra, Ramboll, and KPMG.