Construction begins on world’s first full-scale hyperloop system
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (Hyperloop TT) has commenced construction work on a full-scale hyperloop system, Construction Week Online reported.
Bibop Gresta, chairman of Hyperloop TT, said the company would deliver “the first full-scale passenger capsule” at its research and development (R&D) centre in Toulouse, France.
The first set of tubes that will move people and freight has arrived at Hyperloop TT’s R&D facility in France.
Measuring 4m, the tubes are optimised for passenger capsules and shipping containers.
Phase 1 of the project includes a closed, 320m system that will begin operations this year, and a second, full-scale system spanning 1km – elevated by 5.8m pylons – will complete in 2019.
The transport company said both systems “are fully upgradeable, and will be utilised by both Hyperloop TT and partner companies”.
A full-scale passenger capsule, currently nearing completion in Spain, will be delivered to Toulouse this summer for assembly and integration.
Details of a prototype track will were “forthcoming”, the company said.
Commenting on the development, Dirk Ahlborn, chief executive officer of Hyperloop TT, said the project took the firm closer to solving “transportation’s most pressing problems – efficiency, comfort, and speed”.
He said: “Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and […] breaking speed records.
“We’ve pioneered the technology, [which has been] 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. We have a research centre for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse, where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule.
“Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.”
Considered as one of the top disruptors in the contemporary technology climate, hyperloop technology uses an electromagnetic propulsion system to move through a vacuum tube.
The rapid-transit system, which was conceptualised by SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, in 2013, is designed to propel air-cushioned pods through a semi-vacuumed tube.
When implemented, the technology could cut journeys between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes; Dubai to Muscat to 27 minutes; and Dubai to Riyadh to 48 minutes.
Led by the UAE, hyperloop development is making rapid strides in the Gulf.
In October 2017, it was revealed that a feasibility study carried out to implement hyperloop in Abu Dhabi would be released “soon”.
HyperloopTT’s study with the Abu Dhabi government covered “many aspects of the project”, Gresta reportedly explained at the time.
Topics covered in the study include “alignments, financials, economic viability, sustainability, and the impact on [the UAE’s] Vision 2030”.
He continued: “In Abu Dhabi, we are particularly proud because we conducted a feasibility study that is the biggest study on a hyperloop system.”
Earlier this year, Dubai’s RTA, in collaboration with Virgin Hyperloop One, unveiled the world’s first prototype of a Hyperloop passenger pod as part of UAE Innovation Month.