Abu Dhabi announced commercial plans for Hyperloop. Dubai next?
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announces consultant Dar Al-Handasah will be the design partner and that construction of the first commercial Hyperloop system in Abu Dhabi will start in Q3 2019.
Dar Al-Handasah joins the project as design lead and as the latest investor in HTT. Dar Al-Handasah’s team includes Dar Group members: Perkins+Will (architects, USA), T.Y. Lin International (engineers, USA), GPO Group (engineers, Spain) and Currie & Brown (cost management consultants, UK).
Construction of the Hyperloop commercial track as well as HTT’s XO Square Innovation Center and Hyperloop Experience Center is targeted to begin in Q3 2019.
Earlier this year, HTT signed an MoU with Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s leading listed real estate development company, which, when executed, will allow for the creation of a new HTT center including; a full-scale commercial Hyperloop system, an XO Square Innovation Center and Hyperloop Experience Center. The proposed 10-kilometer track near the border with Dubai is also conveniently located close to the Expo 2020 site and Al Maktoum International Airport.
What is Hyperloop?
HTT is an innovative transportation and technology company focused on realizing the Hyperloop, a system that moves people and goods at unprecedented speeds safely, efficiently, and sustainably. Founded in 2013, HTT is a global team comprised of more than 800 engineers, creatives and technologists in 52 multidisciplinary teams, with 40 corporate and university partners.
HTT is led by co-founders Dirk Ahlborn (CEO) and Bebop G. Gresta (Chairman) and a senior management team of experienced entrepreneurs and professionals.
Hyperloops use magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the pods can shuttle people and freight at speeds of up to 750 miles (1,200 km) per hour, according to Reuters.
The technology, which has not been used commercially, is proposed as a replacement to existing rail infrastructure.
HTT previously signed a contract with Abu Dhabi’s municipal affairs and transport department in 2016 for a feasibility study to connect Abu Dhabi city with Al Ain along the Oman border.
Traveling inside Hyperloop
Despite traveling at speeds of up to 1,230kph, designers say the effects on the human body of supersonic travel inside a vacuum tunnel will be minimal, says UAE daily The National.
“Engineers working on the project believe the passenger experience will be similar to that on board a commercial airliner. Virtual windows will also offer passengers a view to an artificial world outside,” it said.
QuinteroOne, still in design, more than 100ft long and weighs in at five tons, is set to become the first capsule to carry passengers at the speed of sound between the Al Ghadeer development on the edge of Dubai, and the Hyperloop station in Abu Dhabi.
In 2016, Spanish company Carbures, now called Artificial, signed a Dh8.9 million ($2.42million) contract with HTT to build the passenger capsule, using the latest aerospace technology and engineering.
The pod is rigged with sensors to know exactly how the structure – a purpose-built, superlight composite material called Vibranium – performs at high speeds.
Elon vs Branson
HTT is one of the companies vying to make Elon Musk’s vision of futuristic transport a reality.
Neighboring Dubai is backing rival Virgin Hyperloop One to build the futuristic transport system.
Virgin Hyperloop One, which is backed by mogul Richard Branson, has a 1,600ft test track in the Nevada desert, according to the Daily Mail.
According to Reuters, Richard Branson is quitting as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, saying the company, that plans to build a supersonic transport system in the United Arab Emirates and other countries, needs a more actively involved leader, the firm said on Monday.
Virgin Hyperloop One’s biggest shareholder is Dubai’s DP World DPW.DI, which confirmed the news.
“The Financial Times reported last week that Saudi Arabia had terminated a deal with Virgin Hyperloop One over a planned $1 billion investment in the group’s space ventures after Branson halted investment talks with Riyadh,” said Reuters.