Hyperloop One to build 1,200kph transport system in Dubai?

Soon, you could travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes.

It’s perhaps the most ambitious mass transport project ever conceived. Hyperloop One CEO Rob Loyd and Director General & Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority, His Excellency Matter Al Tayer this morning signed an agreement at the Burj Khalifa to begin formal studies on high-speed routes within the UAE that will enable travellers to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes, or Dubai to Fujairah in 10 minutes, or even Dubai to Riyadh in 48 minutes. That’s travel at the speed of 1,200kph.

The transportation system consists of autonomous pods that can transport people, cargo, and even entire cars inside of it. The pods operate in a low-pressure vacuum enabling high-speed travel. Loyd said that the project could become a reality and start operating in Dubai as soon as five years from now.

Watch this video that explains just how this new transport system will work:

Hyperloop One is a startup based in Los Angeles with 200 employees and has already received $160 million in investment. Hyperloop One is building a test model in the Nevada dessert to create a working concept system that should be ready by next year. Interestingly, the energy consumed per person in this system is similar to that of a bicycle. The agreement signed today, means that Hyperloop One will immediately commence their feasibility study, in association with McKinsey & Co. and the Bjarke Ingels Group, which will be sponsored by the RTA.

The next stages are well outlined for the programme. According to co-founder and president of engineering for Hyperloop One, Josh Giegel, the pre-feasibility study will be completed in the next 3-4months. Thereafter, they will begin work on a proof-of-operations facility where they will test the system on a 20-30km track. The project will consist of three more steps following the studies. The first will stage will be to create a network in Dubai, followed by one that connect Dubai to Abu Dhabi and the final stage is expanding the network across the UAE and then between the UAE and other nations. Giegel also said that passengers could book their seats on the on-demand transport system via their smartphone, much like they now order an Uber.

If this multi-billion dollar does go according to plan, it will not stop short of revolutionising the conventional public and personal transport system as we now know it.