Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) announced an agreement with Aldar Properties PJSC to build the world's first commercial Hyperloop linking Abu Dhabi to Dubai. The 10km track is meant to be operational by 2020.
Connecting the Middle East
However, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are only the first cities in the Middle East the firms plans to connect. Chairman of HyperloopTT Bibop Gresta said: "This agreement creates the basis for the first commercial Hyperloop system in the world here in the Emirates, with the goal of eventually connecting Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, Dubai, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia."
Hyperloop technology was initially conceived by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and is designed to propel pods, with passengers or goods, through tubes at speeds of 750 mph. However, Gresta told CNBC the actual speed of the train would be much slower to ensure passenger comfort during take-off and arrival.
Gresta also announced that an initial feasibility study was conducted with the government of Abu Dhabi and proved to be successful. He added that the track would be built close to the Expo 2020 site and the Al Maktoum International Airport.
Return on investment in a decade
Gresta refused to reveal how much the project would cost but stated that feasibility studies so far had indicated that investments could be recouped in 10 to 15 years. He also said the train would run on renewable energy reducing the price of passenger tickets.
In HyperloopTT’s press release, Chief Executive Officer of Aldar Properties Talal Al Dhiyebi expressed excitement for the new project. "We are delighted to be working with HyperloopTT as they look to bring one of the world's most revolutionary transportation technologies to Abu Dhabi,"he said.
Al Dhiyebi added that he believed that “Hyperloop technology can have a major positive impact” on the UAE’s communities. Hyperloop technology has been praised for its potential to not only provide people with shorter travel times but also reduce congestion.
"A forward-thinking nation like the UAE is ideal for building the most revolutionary, most efficient, and fastest transportation system in the world," added Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of HyperloopTT.
Previously, HyperloopTT had a contract with the Quay Valley eco-town project in California but legal issues pertaining to water rights as well as cash flow problems saw the project get canceled. Meanwhile, last week, the company announced the debut of construction of test tracks in Toulouse, France.
Currently, Hyperloop’s 40-meter long and 2.75-meter wide prototype is scheduled for delivery in September when HyperloopTT plans to begin testing. Should its construction prove successful, the company will be on its way to achieving its ambitious plans.
So far, HyperloopTT has worked with several governments to try and see its vision come to life with only feasibility studies to show for it. This UAE deal is the first to come to fruition and, if successful on time, could prove the first of its kind in the world.