12 minutes: that’s how fast a Hyperloop could go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Virgin Hyperloop One is working to bring us a little closer to that reality. The company — along with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) — just unveiled its first commuter pod prototype – and it’s a vision of things to come.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) February 23, 2018
During UAE Innovation Month, Virgin Hyperloop One unveiled a full-scale pod model at the City Walk mall in Dubai. The Dubai Media Office said the initial design was on display for the first time in the world, and some visitors were able to climb aboard and sit inside. When the infrastructure is completed, Hyperloop pods could transport 10,000 people per hour between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in both directions, according to the Dubai Media Office.
There aren’t any windows in this Hyperloop commuter pod. Instead, some passengers will find entertainment in interactive screens in the seat armrests. RTA director-general Mattar Al Tayer said in a statement, “The Hyperloop boasts deluxe interiors, cutting-edge broadcasting, and display of information and entertainment materials as well as leather seats.”
Dezeen cited publication Khaleej Times as saying there will be two classes in each pod: a gold class for five people and a silver class for 14. Pods will be around 29-feet-long. The Dubai Media Office said Hyperloop pods could move through tubes at speeds of 1,200 kilometers per hour (that’s 746 miles per hour).
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) February 22, 2018
Dezeen said the high-speed transportation system could launch in 2020, and shave the 90-minute car journey between Abu Dhabi and Dubai down to 12 minutes. Other routes could offer speedy transportation through the surrounding area; travelers could reach Riyadh, Doha, and Muscat in 48, 23, and 27 minutes, respectively. Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said they aim “to explore the viability of a wider UAE Hyperloop network.”
Images via Dubai Media Office Twitter