There’s a Hyperloop on the Dubai horizon, but not how you might have imagined it…
There’s been much hype about Hyperloop, the high speed transport system that could take people from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 15 minutes (and from New York to Beijing in just two hours).
There’s also been a lot of talk about the UAE being one of the first countries in the world to see a fully functioning Hyperloop – and it looks like that might happen, but just not in the way we imagined it.
THE HYPERLOOP PLANS
It has just been announced that DP World, one of the globe’s biggest port operators, is looking in to building a Hyperloop for commercial use.
DP World plans to potentially build an underground Hyperloop system underwater that would send cargo from ships out in the ocean straight to a separate container depot. This would mean the Jebel Ali Port could shrink, freeing up valuable land. It would also help DP World deal with its fast growth.
Hyperloop CEO says Dubai is the perfect city for the world’s first Hyperloop: “It’s got the infrastructure, regulatory movement and kind of capital in place needed to build it already,” he told TechCrunch.
What’s next? Well Hyperloop and DP World will now conduct a feasibility study to determine if it makes economic sense to build the system that could move cargo faster than a plane at full pelt.
If it happens it could completely revolutionise the shipping industry (and would mean Dubai would be right at the front of that change).
WHERE HYPERLOOP IS AT RIGHT NOW
Famous inventor Elon Musk first proposed the idea back in 2013, and made his research public so that others could pursue developing the concept. This means the Hyperloop technology is open source and is currently being pursued by a number of companies and individuals.
Hyperloop One opened a fabrication site in the Nevada desert last month to build equipment and start seriously testing the system.
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Feasibility studies for the Hyperloop system are also apparently happening in Russia, Finland, Switzerland and California. Unlike the DP World study, the feasibility discussions in Russia are about transporting people across the vast Russian landscape.
Plus, the Dubai Future Foundation has announced an international competition that will take place in Dubai in September and will see 100 scientists, engineers and tech experts spend 48 hours collaborating to design a Hyperloop station, ‘track’ and system that will take passengers from Dubai to Fujairah in 10 minutes (the trip currently takes about 90 minutes by car). We’ll keep you updated on the progress there once the competition starts.
MORE ON HYPERLOOP
A photo posted by HyperloopOne (@hyperloopone) on
While Hyperloop is innovative, it will also be cheaper than other transport options, with developers saying it will cost just 10 per cent of the cost of building conventional high speed trains.
The Hyperloop involves a low-pressure pipe linking two stations, and would allow passengers to travel at speeds of up to 1200 km per hour.
When presented in Dubai in February the plans for Hyperloop showed a bunch of small pods (rather than one large train) that would be on demand, leaving when you want to leave, and going directly to your chosen station.
The infrastructure will be made up of large tubes that run between destinations, and the pods will levitate rather than be on tracks. The environment within the main tube will be controlled so that there will only be a very small amount of air in it, creating a suction of sorts, so that the pods move from one end to the other (very, very quickly – kind of like a parcel in a postal shoot). There are plans to run them either underwater or above ground.
Oh, and update on the company Hyperloop One. The co-founder who presented Hyperloop at the World Government Summit in Dubai in February, Brogan Bambrogan, has resigned and is now suing the company he helped to form.
Here are some of the key parts of the Hyperloop: