Published on : Saturday, January 5, 2019
An American firm behind plans to build a supersonic transport system is speeding up its efforts to launch the world’s first service in the UAE.
Officials at Virgin Hyperloop One said that the company would open an office in the emirates as the project starts to come to the forefront. The proposed scheme will see high-speed trains, or pods, transport passengers at up to 1,200kph along a vacuum-sealed track.
The company said that among the possible routes, there would be a line between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and between Mumbai on India’s west coast and the inland city of Pune.
“We are actually setting up our first office outside of the US in Dubai,” said Harj Dhaliwal, managing director for the Middle East and India.
The hyperloop concept was first conceived by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2013. The technology uses electromagnets to accelerate trains through a low-pressure tube, allowing the vehicle to glide silently with little or no turbulence.
By December last year, Virgin Hyperloop One had raised $295 million (1.08bn) in private finance demonstrating a form of the propulsion technology at a test site in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is now one of the two companies vying building such a system in the UAE, with the other being Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), another California-based firm.
Under the proposed UAE scheme, Virgin Hyperloop One’s pods will take just 12 minutes to cover the distance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It currently takes around 1hr 20 min to drive between the two cities.
Both Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi have been identified as possible stations on the Dubai to Abu Dhabi route.
Dubai tourism has said that the company is also thinking about the possibility of operating the pods alongside highways.
Tags: Virgin Hyperloop