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Tue 13 Oct 2015 12:07 PM

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Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 15mins in a hyperloop?

Travelling between the emirates could be done in futuristic tunnels, according to plans by US specialists

Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 15mins in a hyperloop?

The journey from Dubai to Abu Dhabi could soon take just 15 minutes. That's the claim of Peter Diamandis, who has earmarked the UAE as a potential destination for the first fully operational 'hyperloop' passenger transport system.

With potential speeds of 1200kph, and the backing of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, one of the world's pre-eminant engineering brains, the idea could be a possibility.

The technology, which is expected to begin track testing in 2016, is a relatively simple concept. Sealed concrete or steel pipes, installed either above or below ground, are pumped permanently to remove air and, thus, resistance to the trains, while electric motors create a strong magnetic field that allows carriages to coast in a frictionless environment.

"If the UAE wants it, it could be operational before 2020," Diamandis, who is accompanied on his visit to the UAE by the former rocket engineer at SpaceX, Brogan Bambrogan, said in Dubai on Monday.

"Hyperloop is about reinventing transportation. This is about the future. This is like how mobile telephone reinvented the world many times over."

The New York-born expert added the UAE was one of a number of locations being looked at, but that it did have a trump card in as much as the journey between the two emirates is largely flat, straight and uncluttered, unlike, say, the journey between the Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Hyperloop was first discussed in 2013 when Musk, who is most widely known as the man who created PayPal, published a 57-page document outlining his hopes for harnessing the technology for widespread use.

The projected top speed is twice the current record set by Japan's 'maglev' passenger train in April this year. 'Maglev', a shortened amalgamation of Magnetic Levitation due to the fact carriages literally hover above the rails, suspended by powerful magnets, smashed the record set be the nation's iconic bullet train, which runs on steel tracks. Once operational 'maglev' trains will link Tokyo and Osaka in around an hour. The whole project is set to cost AED279 billion ($318 billion). Musk's plans are significantly cheaper.

But is it safe? Dirk Ahlborn, Hyperloop Technologies CEO explains: "You are completely managed by a computer - there is no human factor, which is the most common cause of accidents like this."

There are also reassurances on the feeling and impact of supersonic speed itself. Craig Hodgetts, the UCLA Professor leading the design team, added: "You will feel the acceleration thrust, like a very fast, powerful car. But you will feel almost no sense of motion while travelling. You will mainly going to experience getting there and stopping."

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Veronica Chapman 4 years ago

It is the time to bring faster travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.
Even hovercraft which is much faster. Everyday according to the newspapers some one gets killed on that dreaded road..
Even though it's a good straight thro road, it is time to think of another way instead of that 2 hour drive.....well some people do it much faster, so that tells you alone what speed they are doing.