High speed travel firm Hyperloop One is hurtling towards its first public trial after it released new photos of progress at its test site in the Nevada desert, in the United States.
Images of DevLoop, its test site, show a full-scale 500m tube at 3.3m in diameter, which is being constructed ahead of a public trial in the first half of this year. It follows testing on a prototype version of the propulsion system last May.
Hyperloop One aims to transport cargo by 2020 and people by 2021 at speeds of potentially up to 1,200km/h. It works by using an electric motor to propel a levitated pod through a low pressure tube.
Around 150 engineers have helped changed a barren stretch of the Nevada desert, 34km from Las Vegas, into a full-scale test site in just over five months.
Speaking at the Middle East Rail conference in Dubai, Hyperloop chief executive Rob Lloyd described how a proposed hyperloop link between Dubai and the city of Abu Dhabi will cut a journey time of 1.5 hours to just 12 minutes.
“While technology is revolutionising many facets of our lives, we have not seen a radical change in transportation since the Wright brothers introduced air travel over 100 years ago,” said Lloyd.
“Tying together the Middle East region would produce greater virtual density, without congestion and pollution, spurring innovation, productivity, job growth and more powerful sharing of knowledge, labor and investment. Building a Hyperloop would vastly impact the economy and make any major city in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] accessible within one hour.”
Hyperloop One estimates that a UAE Hyperloop network could unlock economic value worth 3.5 to 4 times more than high speed rail.
The company is planning hyperloop networks in five countries, calling the technology, which is brainchild of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, “broadband for transportation.”