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Hyperloop aims to get official green light to start construction in the UAE by 2019
08 March 2017
By Megha Merani
Hyperloop One, the U.S. tech startup developing a high-speed transit system for the United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday said it is aiming to secure regulatory approval to allow it to start production towards the end of the decade, a senior official said on Tuesday.
“There are no rules to regulate the Hyperloop today, we'll need to collaborate in the creation of those rules,” Rob Lloyd, chief executive officer of Hyperloop One, said in a speech at the Middle East Rail conference in Dubai.
Lloyd said he was confident the regulatory framework could be in place by next year, giving the green light for production on the concept to begin.
“The objective would be to create a playbook for regulatory approvals and we're working with some of the experts around the world to do that. We think we need to have that done in 2018 timeframe so we can begin construction in 2019 and go into production of the Hyperloop somewhere in the region of 2020 to 2021," he said.
The concept of the Hyperloop uses magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the floating pods could shuttle people and cargo at speeds of up to 1,200 kph. The concept originated in a paper by Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk in 2013, who envisioned it whisking passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.
Last year, the firm signed an agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to explore the development of a Hyperlook link between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, reducing journey times between the two emirates to around 12 minutes.
"Currently experts from both parties are discussing key challenges, particularly with regard to operational safety not only from a system safety point of view but also from a human physiology perspective as well," Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younus, CEO of the Rail Agency at the RTA, said in a speech on Tuesday.
Dr. Abdulla S. Al Katheeri, director-general, of the UAE’s Federal Transport Authority (FTA) - Land and Maritime, confirmed to Zawya Projects during a press conference for Middle East Rail on February 28 that the Hyperloop had not yet been rubberstamped by officials.
“No transportation mode will be done without regulation… There is a big discussion at state (level) whether the Hyperloop should be brought. It is a new mode today and until now there are a lot of trials... if it’s proven... if it should be done in this country,” he said.
During his keynote speech on Tuesday, Lloyd released never-before-seen images of the firm’s development site – dubbed DevLoop – in the Nevada desert near Las Vegas.
The 500 metre-long DevLoop, which has a diameter of 3.3 metres, is expected to perform its first public trial in the first half of 2017, the company said in a press statement.
It estimates that around 4,000 vehicles travel every day between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, resulting in $800 million in lost working hours, the statement added.
Hyperloop is already working with Dubai-based port operator DP World Group. The American company raised $50 million in funding from DP World last summer, taking its total funding to $160 million.
Josh Giegel, president of engineering and a co-founder of Hyperloop One, also told Zawya in November last year that the company had been approached by regional investors to acquire a stake in the company.
(Writing by Shane McGinley, editing by Ghaida Ghantous)
© Zawya 2017