How does it work?
The Hyperloop concept, unveiled by Musk in 2013, is essentially a suspended vacuum tube through which autonomous magnetised passenger, or cargo, pods will transport people between locations at speeds of up to 1,200km/h, dramatically cutting existing travel times.
Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators programme series of initiatives, is currently carrying out a detailed feasibility study in partnership with McKinsey & Co and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to evaluate the requirements for an initial Dubai based Hyperloop transportation network.
According to Hyperloop One officials, phase one will potentially include a 20 kilometre-long corridor running parallel to the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed highway, and serving outlying areas such as Dubai South and Dubai Investment Park.
Commenting on the project, Shevin Pishevar, Executive Chairman, Hyperloop One, said: “Hyperloop One is focused on transport that’s far more efficient, fast and clean. It will change the dynamics of how we move goods and people.”
“Dubai makes perfect sense for Hyperloop One because this is the 21st century’s global transport hub and its leaders understand that Hyperloop One is ushering in the next era of transportation.”
This will be followed by links between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and, eventually, Dubai and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with travel times a mere 12 and 40 minutes respectively.
Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi have been mooted as prospective stations, known as ‘portals’, with passenger pods journeying through a specially constructed loop tunnel that could combine over-ground and underground links.
Hyperloop One is also examining the possibility of operating the pods along regular highways, enabling door-to-door travel.
"With Hyperloop One, we will create a new means of transportation, keeping our region at the forefront of transportation technology and innovation,” remarked RTA Chairman, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer.
The company is planning to demonstrate a working version of the under-development technology in 2018 and, has already signed an earlier agreement with ports operator DP World to pursue a cargo Hyperloop One system at its deepwater Jebel Ali port.
According to the RTA, no concrete timeline for launch of the futuristic transportation system has been confirmed, with feasibility studies still underway.