Abu Dhabi-based research institute partners with Virgin Hyperloop to develop futuristic transport

The two entities will explore new technologies key to developing the next-generation transport system

Technology Innovation Institute (TII), an applied research arm of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council, teamed up with Virgin Hyperloop to ramp up research and find ways to localise futuristic transportation technologies.

Under the agreement, the two entities will research hyperloop systems on TII’s premises and study topics such as pulsed power, magnetic levitation and material sciences to develop next generation transport systems, they said in statement on Tuesday.

“We are proud to partner with Virgin Hyperloop to achieve global breakthroughs in transportation, AI and sustainable energy solutions,” Faisal Al Bannai, secretary general of ATRC, said.

Hyperloop – the high-speed transport system for people and goods – could transport passengers and goods at speeds exceeding 1,000 kilometre per hour.

“Advanced technology allows us to progress every aspect of life and collaborations with industry partners like Virgin Hyperloop help leverage it for the greater good,” Mr Bannai said.

TII aims to position Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a global hub for innovation and advanced technologies. The institute is working with more than 20 international universities on more than 25 long-term collaborative projects.

ATRC was established in May this year to develop the research and development ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.

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

The agreement will strengthen the UAE's position as a global research hub, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and chief executive of DP World, said.

According to Mr Sulayem, hyperloop will help drive entrepreneurship and leadership in the UAE's transportation space.

“This in turn will provide opportunities for economic growth through the creation of a strong research and development hub in line with the country’s vision.”

“We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods.”

The partnership not only creates an opportunity for a research hub but also provides Abu Dhabi with a first mover advantage on a passenger and cargo system, TII said.

Last month, Virgin Hyperloop completed its first test with people on board in Las Vegas, with commercial passengers expected to climb aboard the transport system by the end of the decade

A hyperloop network in the Gulf region could move up to 45 million passengers per year, powered by solar panels covering the tube, according to Virgin Hyperloop.

Abu Dhabi’s thriving technology sector will provide a perfect location to advance hyperloop technology and foster successful public-private partnerships with key organisations within the ecosystem, Harj Dhaliwal, Virgin Hyperloop’s managing director for Middle East and India, said.

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