Hyperloops on the Horizon
Earlier in the year we dipped into the world of Hyperloops (see here). It was something that really grabbed our attention, namely down to the huge impact it could have on monotonous commutes but also travelling potential city to city. Some progress has taken place since then and Hyperloop One along with the United Arab Emirates have undertaken a project to build the first fit for service commercial hyperloop system in Dubai.
This hyperloop transportation system will link Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A journey which is 99 miles long and normally takes around 2 hours by car will be slashed to just 12 minutes in the hyperloop, which is mind boggling! The potential of this is incredible when you consider the dire traffic conditions long suffered by commuters on a daily basis between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
To fulfil the project H1 have partnered with the Dubai Roads & Transport authority and the company has already received $50 million in funding from DP World Group of Dubai. Looking even further ahead the system could be expanded to link the UAE with neighbouring Gulf countries so that a trip between Dubai and Saudi capital Riyadh (currently two hours by plane) could be completed in under 50 minutes, and Dubai to Doha could be done in 23 minutes.
Building through the desert certainly has its perks – a straight route can be built – a plus when thus far they haven’t been able to handle curves well. Nonetheless, it’s touted to be more safe than travelling by passenger jets, have lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed train and energy usages that are similar to a bicycle.
The idea for these near supersonic transport links was of course coined by Elon Musk, the no-limits entrepreneur behind electric car company Tesla and private space exploration endeavours SpaceX. Early next year H1 will test a full-scale prototype of its system in the Nevada desert and they’re expected to unveil the first glimpse of what the transportation pods will look like very soon. In terms of Dubai’s hyperloop, 2020 has been given as a rough date.