It’s been a busy week for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT): they began building a test track in France, and they just signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi real estate developer Aldar Properties to build “the first commercial Hyperloop system in the UAE.” HyperloopTT plans to start construction next year, with the first section open by 2020.
Aldar Properties and HyperloopTT signed a memorandum of understanding for a commercial Hyperloop system, including a Hyperloop Visitor Center and HyperloopTT’s XO Square Innovation Center. This agreement will allow the California-based company to start building an around six-mile Hyperloop system. The site is near the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, near the Al Maktoum International Airport and the location for Expo 2020. In fact, HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said with regulatory support, they aim to have the first Hyperloop section operational in time for the expo.
Aldar Properties CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi said in the statement, “We believe that Hyperloop technology can have a major positive impact on the lives of all those living within our communities, and we look forward to this possibility becoming a reality.”
HyperloopTT said they would build the Hyperloop system in several phases, and although this agreement covers a six-mile system, they ultimately aim to construct a commercial network throughout the UAE. They said they’ve been working in the country since 2016, and have finished a comprehensive feasibility study, working with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transportation.
HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn said, “With this historic agreement in Abu Dhabi, we take a big step towards the world’s first commercial system.”
This isn’t the first time cities in the United Arab Emirates have shown an interest in Hyperloop technology; in 2016, Hyperloop One (now Virgin Hyperloop One) signed an agreement with Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority to evaluate a Hyperloop system in the area. Earlier this year, Virgin Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority unveiled a commuter pod prototype.
Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies