Hyperloop One and the United Arab Emirates will collaborate to bring to life the futuristic, high-speed transportation system. The announcement took place on Tuesday in the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, where the first ever Hyperloop could be built.

Hyperloop One and the United Arab Emirates

The LA-based startup will team up with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), McKinsey & Co. and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) to assess the possibility of building a Hyperloop network in the UAE. It’s their second project there, following the deal with DP World on researching a cargo system from August. Previously, Hyperloop One explored route possibilities in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.

“Dubai makes perfect sense for Hyperloop One because this is the 21st century’s global transport hub and its leaders understand that Hyperloop One is ushering in the next era of transportation,” says the Executive Chairman Shervin Pishevar.

The RTA is funding the study, proving the UAE’s strong interest in Hyperloop’s success. They made a major contribution to the $160 million that Hyperloop One has raised so far. What’s more, one of the members of their board of directors is Ahmed Bin Ziyavudin, chair of DP World. If the bold vision comes true, Dubai may boast the first ever operating Hyperloop system. The travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi would take only 12 minutes (currently 2 hours by car). But how does it even work?

How Does it Work?

To help you visualize their idea, Hyperloop One released a neat promotional video. Check it below:

Passengers order a ride through an app and an autonomous pod takes them to the gate at the Hyperloop portal. The pods have room for 6 people and come in 4 different classes (meeting, coach, lounge, and cargo) and are loaded in clusters of four onto the hyperpod, Accelerated by electric motors, the hyperpod levitates and glides through the low-pressure tube faster than commercial airplanes. The passengers experience no turbulence and arrive at their destination in no time, where the pods melt into the city traffic and drop them at chosen locations. The perspective is truly awesome, but is doable?

Unclear Hyperloop Future

The company is yet to show something even remotely resembling the proposed system. Back in May, they conducted a test in the Nevada desert, with a metal sled on a train track racing at 100 mph. Next year, they hope to present a full-scale prototype. Despite having to deal with advanced technological challenges, Hyperloop One is facing a potentially damaging lawsuit from their co-founder and former chief technology officer, Brogan BamBrogan. Backed up by several other ex-employees, he accuses the startup executives of jeopardizing the company’s future through nepotism and questionable financial moves. He even filed a restraining order against the chief legal officer and CEO’s brother, Afshin Pishevar. There’s security footage of Pishevar carrying a hangman’s noose through the office. BamBrogan claims he placed in on his desk after he passed a trip to Moscow to meet a potential investor. You can read more about it here. Even if half of the allegations are true, Hyperloop might be in huge trouble. Nevertheless, the presence of the Arabic capital and hiring Brent Callinicos, Uber’s former CFO, make their vision more realistic.

Let’s wait and see how things play out for Hyperloop One in 2017.


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