DUBAI: Rob Lloyd, the CEO of Hyperloop One, has confirmed to Gulf News that the company will hire “dozens and dozens of staff” locally, adding that they were “in the process of finalising an entity here in the UAE.”
Speaking at the Middle East Rail event on Tuesday, Lloyd added that the company was “seeing interest from across the Gulf in this idea, and you’ll see a significant amount of expansion of our resources here.”
Hyperloop One currently employs 250 people, and that number will have increased to 500 by the end of the year, according to Lloyd.
The CEO of Elon Musk’s futuristic transport technology company talked about the scale of work required to bring the concept to market, but noted that a “significant amount of that work” will take place in the Emirates.
Hyperloop One is competing with a number of other companies to have the first operational hyperloop system, a mode of transport that will propel passengers and cargo through tubes at airplane-like speeds of nearly 700mp/h (1,127km/h).
Lloyd also announced that Hyperloop One is expecting to perform its first public trial in the “next couple of months.”
The DevLoop trial will follow Hyperloop One’s first public test of a prototype propulsion system, which took place in Nevada in May 2016.
Confirming that the company was working with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) on developing regulations surrounding the technology, Lloyd said “we’ve learnt a lot from RTA in terms of safety and certifications,” adding “there are currently no rules governing this technology.”
He went on to state that his company was working closely with the relevant authorities in the UAE to develop a “playbook” for regulatory approval.
“This is an environment where we can create rules. I believe those regulatory frameworks can be developed and delivered in the Emirates, and then exported elsewhere to other countries around the world. Why not? That’s one of our objectives here,” Lloyd said.
In October 2016, Hyperloop One secured $50 million (Dh183.65 million) in a financing round led by Dubai port operator DP World.
The RTA announced at the beginning of February that they had been conducting a feasibility study on the high-speed transportation system, in coordination with Hyperloop One, since October 2016.
The provisional studies focused on the suggested routes in Dubai, whilst also assessing the economic, financial and environmental impact of the technology.