Hyperloop and Abu Dhabi’s feasibility study nears release

Construction Week Online reported that the feasibility study about the transport technology is the largest of its kind.

Bibop Gresta, founder and chairman of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT), said the firm has deals with eight countries to implement the system, including land for two test tracks, one each in France and India.

HyperloopTT’s study with the Abu Dhabi government covers “many aspects of the project”, Gresta reportedly explained.

Topics covered in the study include “alignments, financials, economic viability, sustainability and the impact on [the UAE’s] Vision 2030“.

A “big announcement” would be made by the government to reveal the study’s findings, Gresta revealed at GITEX Technology Week 2017 in Dubai.

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport (DMAT) announced plans for the feasibility study last December, following an agreement with HyperloopTT.

The study agreement was reported to span multiple phases, including a detailed route analysis, feasibility study, cost estimate and schedule, due over the coming months.

Commenting on the study, Eng Khalid Mohamed Hashim, acting executive director for DMAT’s land transport sector, said: “We aim to study the feasibility of developing the first hyperloop system, which is one of the most advanced transportation technologies, expected to reach a top speed of 1,200km/h.

“We hope to take advantage of this technology to connect the cities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, which will result in a travel time of about eight to 12 minutes.”

He added that greater connectivity between the two cities in the emirate would yield numerous benefits, including the reduction in the number of private and transport vehicles and the lowering of the emirate’s emissions profile.

In November 2016, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed an agreement with US-based firm, Hyperloop One, to build a 20km-long hyperloop prototype by 2020.

The initiative will form part of a feasibility study into building a similar system between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which would reduce travelling time between the emirates to 12 minutes.

Josh Geigel, co-founder of Hyperloop One, told Gulf News: “We believe this is the first step towards making the technology a reality, and we [are] looking forward to having the prototype ready by 2020.”

The rapid-transit system, which was conceptualised by SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, in 2013, is designed to propel air-cushioned pods through a semi-vacuumed tube.

When implemented, the technology could cut journeys between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes; Dubai to Muscat to 27 minutes; and Dubai to Riyadh to 48 minutes.

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