The first concept for a full hyperloop system has been revealed, as Hyperloop One signs a deal to build it in the UAE.
This is the first full concept for how the hyperloop transport system could actually work. It has been unveiled by Hyperloop One, the most prominent company working on the system posited by Elon Musk, as it announced a deal to build the first hyperloop network between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Hyperloop One envisions a network of stations holding passenger and cargo-carrying “hyperpods." Those then travel under their own power to a central hub, where four pods form into a “cluster” and slot into a bigger “transporter capsule” that travels along the hyperloop itself. Once they get to their destination, the hyperpods disembark and head off to wherever their passengers or cargo need to go, taking to the road if necessary.
With a network of 120 “pod gates," Hyperloop One calculates 8,640 passengers can use the system every hour. Three types of passenger-carrying hyperpod are proposed, a club class “lounge pod," a “meeting pod” aimed at business travelers, and an economy class “coach pod” for everyone else.
Hyperloop One had already received considerable investment from DP World, which owns the vast Port of Dubai container terminal, with an end goal of building a cargo-carrying hyperloop between the port and a new, inland container port.
Announcing the new deal with the Dubai Transport Authority (RTA), Hyperloop One said in a statement:
We’ve signed an agreement with RTA Dubai to jointly pursue a passenger and cargo hyperloop network in Dubai and between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and other Emirates. This could reduce the time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes.
It is about 60 miles (120 kilometres) from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to Abu Dhabi International Airport - perhaps the two most likely locations for the central hubs - so a 12 minute journey would be completed at an average speed of 300 miles per hour (483 kilometres per hour).
For now, no timescale has been put on the project, but Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd has previously suggested a system could be put in place by 2021. Prototype testing is currently under way near Las Vegas.