Super fast public transport could be just around the bend in the U.A.E., after a U.S. company revealed plans this week to begin construction on a commercial hyperloop track in Abu Dhabi in the third quarter of 2019.
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) announced the move after hiring Dar Al-Handasah, an international design and engineering firm, to assist in the development.
Dar Al-Handasah has also invested an undisclosed amount into HyperloopTT, which was founded in 2013 and also has offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Earlier this year, HyperloopTT signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties to build a track at a proposed site on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, close to the Expo 2020 site and Al Maktoum International Airport. “We are bringing the future of rapid transportation technology to all those living in the U.A.E.,” said Bibop Gresta, HyperloopTT’s chairman, in a statement.
Meanwhile, neighboring Dubai is also eyeing hyperloop technology, with U.S.-based Virgin Hyperloop One inking a number of agreements to explore the technology in the emirate. Dubai-based ports operator DP World is a prominent investor in Virgin Hyperloop One, and earlier this year the two companies partnered to launch a new global logistics venture that will use hyperloop-enabled cargo systems.
Virgin Hyperloop One has also linked up with Dubai’s transport authority to evaluate a route between Dubai and Abu Dhabi that would reduce the 90 minute journey between the cities to 12 minutes. In February 2018, the company rolled out a prototype design of the pods it plans to use for a potential hyperloop system in the U.A.E.