Construction has begun on the first full-scale Hyperloop passenger tubes ahead of the next stage in development that could herald a new era of travel in the UAE.
A set of tubes measuring four metres in diameter have been moved from the development centre in Spain to Toulouse in France, where the next stage of testing is to shortly get under way.
Technicians at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies hope to have a closed 320 metre system ready for testing later this year.
A second full-scale 1km long system elevated by pylons at a height of 5.8 meters will be completed in 2019.
Both systems are fully upgradeable and will be utilised by both HyperloopTT and partner companies. The full-scale passenger capsule, currently near completion at Carbures in Spain, is scheduled for delivery to the facility this summer for assembly and integration.
“Five years ago we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems; efficiency, comfort and speed. Today we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal,” said HyperloopTT chief executive Dirk Ahlborn.
“Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”
Other tech firms like the Hyperloop One system are developing similar versions of passenger pods, whilst market newcomers TransPod, a Canadian start-up, is planning a prototype track in Limoges, France.
Developers at HTT hope their system will be the first to make the long held dream of supersonic public transport an accessible reality.
The company has completed a feasibility study to bring the travel system that uses electro-magnetic levitation technology to fire pods at speeds of 1,200km per hour to the UAE.
Founded in 2013, HyperloopTT is a global team of more than 800 engineers, creatives and technologists in 52 multidisciplinary teams, with 40 corporate and university partners with a headquarters in Los Angeles.
HyperloopTT has satellite offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Bratislava, Toulouse, Contagem in Brazil and Barcelona.
As well as in the UAE, the company has signed agreements in the United States, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Korea.
A public unveiling of the Toulouse facility and prototype track is due later this year.
“Building in full-scale means we’re committed to innovation in the long-term,” said Bibop Gresta, HyperloopTT chairman.
“We’ve pioneered the technology, proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE.
“We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations, and have a research centre for freight and logistics in Brazil along with a facility in Toulouse.
“There we will deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule. Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.”