A prototype of the Hyperloop will be unveiled by the RTA during the UAE Innovation Month. Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA

Dubai: Hyperloop, a subsonic commuter tubes system capable of shuttling passengers in a travel pod from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes at theoretical speeds of up to 1,200km/h, is globally premiered for the first time on Thursday at City Walk 2.

The public pod roll-out is part of a new exhibit to mark UAE Innovation Month giving visitors a glimpse of the revolutionary transport system that Dubai first announced in August 2016 as a driverless urban mobility option for the future.

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Route identified

In a statement on Wednesday, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) confirmed the project has advanced to the stage where the agency has identified preliminary Hyperloop routes across the emirate and, potentially, beyond.

The authority said it will ”unveil the initial design of the Hyperloop, which will be exhibited for the first time in the world, in collaboration with Virgin Hyperloop One, as part of its participation in UAE Innovation Month”.

Virgin Hyperloop One chairman Richard Branson has invested heavily in the transportation start-up firm and is working closely with the RTA.


Alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday in Mumbai, Branson just inked a major deal to build a Hyperloop system between Mumbai and Pune that will reduce travel time between the two cities from three hours to 25 minutes.

In a statement on Wednesday, Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, lauded Dubai, the RTA and the UAE for being “early supporters of our Hyperloop technology, so it is particularly exciting to be unveiling the Dubai Hyperloop pod with the RTA here [in Dubai]”.

“Our focus in 2018 would be continuing the close collaboration with RTA to progress to the next phase of the project. Our aim would be to explore the viability of a wider UAE Hyperloop network,” Lloyd said.

White paper

The Hyperloop design was first conceived in a 2010 white paper by Elon Reeve Musk, a South Africa-born Canadian billionaire inventor who helped found Tesla Motors and SpaceX and described his open-sourced Hyperloop system as a “cross between a Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table” for combining subsonic speed and the levitating ability of air pressure.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the Board and director-general of RTA, said on Wednesday that Dubai wants 25 per cent of all journeys in the emirate to be driverless by 2030 as part of the RTA’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy to reduce traffic congestion and slash greenhouse gases.

Al Tayer said the ongoing Hyperloop project work in the last two years has brought the project closer to reality.

“The Hyperloop is part of RTA’s initiatives for Dubai Future Accelerators; [the] RTA and Virgin Hyperloop One Company have made considerable progress in the technical, engineering and economic feasibility study of the project. Progress made also included identifying the routes for operating the Hyperloop along with its initial design model, which will be exhibited for the first time in the world,” Al Tayer said.

“When introduced in future, the Hyperloop technology will impact the town planning and the availability of parking spaces. It will revolutionise people mobility between various destinations in the city, logistical hubs like airports and ports, and shipping patterns,” Al Tayer said.

He noted the RTA will also showcase other self-driving autonomous pods, high-frequency express buses, and the Urban Mobility Innovation Index (UMii) at the new exhibition starting on Thursday.

“During the UAE Innovation Month, the RTA will exhibit the Self-Driving Transport Pods Project which will undergo trial runs as announced by the RTA during the World Government Summit. These pods, the first of its kind worldwide, have been designed to travel over short and medium distances on dedicated lanes. They can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached, depending on the destination of riders, in five seconds. They are fitted with cameras and electro-mechanical technologies to carry out the coupling and detaching processes, and this feature can be activated in-motion. Each pod is designed to travel short and medium distances and has a capacity to accommodate ten riders (six seated, four standing),” Al Tayer said.

Hyperloop details

The Hyperloop boasts deluxe interiors, cutting-edge broadcasting and display of information and entertainment materials as well as leather seats.

The Hyperloop technology uses an electromagnetic propulsion system to accelerate the movement of goods and services through a vacuum tube.

The system is designed to assist the levitation of the capsule slightly off the track within the tube and move it at speed up to 1,200km/hour.

The Hyperloop can travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes, and lift about 10,000 passengers per hour in both directions.

Source: RTA

First Hyperloop trial successful

Dubai: Hyperloop One, the start-up firm commissioned to bring its commuter technology to the UAE, completed its first successful trial run of its pod system in July 2017 at its test track in Nevada, United States.

“We’re proud to announce the completion of the world’s first successful Hyperloop full systems test,” the transportation start-up said on Twitter at the time.

While the test speed for a few seconds was far from its purported subsonic 1,200km/h speed, the pod did reach a speed of 70km/h and was fully functional.

The company said the ground-breaking trial was considered a milestone.

Source: Gulf News