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Sun 9 Feb 2020 09:19 AM

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Commercial hyperloop to begin operating in next decade, says Virgin Hyperloop One CEO

Late last week, VHO and Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Transport announced a partnership to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the use of hyperloop technology to transport passengers and cargo

Commercial hyperloop to begin operating in next decade, says Virgin Hyperloop One CEO

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced a contract agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) to conduct ‎a pre-feasibility study on the use of hyperloop technology for the transport of passengers and cargo, laying the groundwork for a network of hyperloop routes to be considered ‎across Saudi Arabia. 

Commercial hyperloop transportation systems are likely to be commercially available within the next 10 years, according to Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder.

Late last week, VHO and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Transport announced a partnership to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the use of hyperloop technology to transport passengers and cargo, which VHO said is a first step towards a network of hyperloop routes to be considered across the kingdom.


Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport.

The study – a first at a national level – will examine viable routes, expected demand and anticipated costs. It will also assess various socio-economic benefits of the system, including job creation and the development of high-tech skills.

In a statement, Walder said that he is confident that the world will see its first commercial hyperloop “within the decade.”

“The kingdom is at the forefront of this new era in transportation by being the first in the world to explore a national hyperloop route,” he said. “The economic potential is enormous to connect passengers and cargo at unprecedented speeds with zero direct emissions.”

According to VHO, the system would be up to 10 times more energy efficient than short haul flights, and 50 percent more efficient than high-speed trains. The system could also be powered entirely by solar panels.

VHO estimates that the technology would cut travel time from Riyadh to Jeddah to 46 minutes, while a trip from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would be completed in about 48 minutes.


Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of VHO Virgin Hyperloop One.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of VHO, said that the company “and the technology that underpins it will help shape the future of the kingdom.”

“Together with the Ministry of Transport, we are confident that hyperloop technology will transform the movement of people and cargo in Saudi Arabia and help realise the ambitions of Vision 2030,” he said. “The evolution of hyperloop offers an unparalleled opportunity to shape a connected Saudi Arabia, linking cities and nations in the region via a variety of routes.”

VHO has already conducted over 400 tests, with investors including DP World and Abu Dhabi Capita Group.

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