The first passenger pod has been unveiled for one of the hyperloop systems planned for the UAE.
The pod is 32m long, weighs five tons and is designed to transport 28-40 passengers at speeds of more than 1,220 km/h, just under the speed of sound.
The spanish firm behind the design, HyperloopTT, claimed it is the first full-sized passenger pod built for a hyperloop system.
Hyperloop is a proposed mode of transport where passengers or freight are propelled in pods or capsules at high speeds through low pressure tubes.
In theory, the reduced friction and air resistance in the tubes will allow the pods to travel at speeds equivalent to an aeroplane but more efficiently and at a much lower cost.
The technology could cut the travel times between the three main cities of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain to under 30min.
In April this year HyperloopTT signed an MoU with the Abu Dhabi-based developer Aldar Properties to build a full-scale commercial hyperloop system to support a new residential development in Alghadeer, which sits between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The firm is just one of several companies developing hyperloop technologies. Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One is also working on the technology in the UAE, and has a partnership with DP World to provide high-speed, low-cost freight shipping.
HyperloopTT’s pod will now be taken to a development centre in France for further assembly work before it is rolled out onto one of the firm’s first commercial tracks.
Bibop Gresta, the firm’s chairman and co-founder, said he expected the pod to be operational in 2019.
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.