LOS ANGELES: American transportation technology company Virgin Hyperloop is gearing up to bring the “future of transit” to Saudi Arabia via a partnership agreement with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Transport.
Under the initiative, Riyadh would become a transportation hub connecting cities such as Jeddah, and the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, with Virgin Hyperloop pods capable of carrying groups of 25 passengers comfortably at speeds of 1,000 km per hour.
Describing the technology, Josh Giegel, co-founder and chief technology officer of the Los Angeles-based firm, told Arab News: “Going from A to B, direct to destination at the speeds of an aircraft, but inside a tube.
“So, small vehicles direct to destination using electromagnetic propulsion and magnetic levitation.
“Being able to have breakfast in Riyadh, go to prayer in Makkah, come back all in time for lunch, do everything that you need to do really gives you a new type of way of being a logistics hub for the actual entire GCC region,” he said.
The system would also allow for safer social distancing, thanks to the small group sizes, lack of frequent stops, and adaptive artificial intelligence, which would allow for additional pods to be added, as necessary.
“You’re automating the fleet. That allows you, if you only need a 50 percent capacity in a single pod, to do that without having to tape off seats and other things like that,” Giegel added.
The partnership began in February, and Hyperloop technology is still in development with testing being conducted in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company anticipates Hyperloop will be ready for the public by the end of the decade.