DP World-backed Virgin Hyperloop to unveil its cargo pod at Expo 2020 pavilion

Cutaway passenger pod will also be on display offering visitors a glimpse at the future of transport

Virgin Hyperloop will unveil its transport pods at Dubai’s DP World pavilion at the Expo 2020 global trade fair, allowing visitors to have a close look at the future of transport.

A full-scale commercial cargo pod replica, almost 10 metres long, will be displayed alongside a cutaway passenger pod in which visitors can sit and learn about the experience of a hyperloop journey, Virgin Hyperloop said on Monday.

Interactive displays, videos and models will surround the pod, showcasing hyperloop technology and its future influence on major global sectors.

“The constant flow of goods has historically driven innovation in the transportation sector and now more than ever, we must continue to future-proof the industry,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World and Virgin Hyperloop.

DP World, the world’s biggest ports operator by volume, is the largest shareholder in the US-based Virgin Hyperloop and plans to use the system to transport cargo in the future.

Bin Sulayem, who replaced Virgin Group founder Richard Branson as Hyperloop chairman in 2018, said that Hyperloop was set to revolutionise the global on-demand logistics market.

Hyperloop, the high-speed system for people and goods, could transport passengers and goods at speeds exceeding 1,000 kilometres per hour. A hyperloop network in the Gulf region could move up to 45 million passengers a year, powered by solar panels covering the tube, Virgin Hyperloop previously said.

Virgin Hyperloop’s pods are being designed to run at speeds of up to 1,200kph, travelling through vacuum tunnels and using magnetic levitation. The company says the journey would be free of turbulence, but if any was experienced its technological prowess would find a solution.

“World Expos have been debuting the most cutting-edge innovations for centuries. I hope that visitors will be able to imagine the not-too-distant future in which they are passengers on a commercial hyperloop system in the Gulf region and beyond,” said Josh Giegel, chief executive and co-founder of Virgin Hyperloop.

Mr Giegel said in May that commercial operations could commence by 2027.

After its successful passenger testing in November 2020, Virgin Hyperloop is seeking regulation and certification of hyperloop systems in cities and countries around the world.

Virgin Hyperloop, which is in talks about possible commercial projects in several US states, has a longstanding presence in the UAE and the Middle East.

Last year, Saudi Arabia issued a trade licence for the company after a national feasibility study on using hyperloop technology to transport people and goods. The study found a hyperloop would cut the travel time from Riyadh to Jeddah to only 46 minutes, compared with 9-10 hours by car.

Updated: September 28th 2021, 7:13 AM
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