Aldar Properties, the powerful Abu Dhabi developer behind Yas Island Formula One circuit, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of a commercial hyperloop tube travel system at one of its residential schemes.
Under the agreement announced yesterday with Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HyperloopTT), a 10km hyperloop line could be constructed at Aldar’s Seih Al Sdeirah landbank in Abu Dhabi.
That site is close to the residential development Alghadeer and is on the border with neighbouring emirate Dubai. It is also close to the Expo 2020 site and Al Maktoum International Airport.
As well as the hyperloop link, the agreement envisages a HyperloopTT visitor centre and "innovation hub" at Seih Al Sdeirah.
MoUs are usually non-binding and represent expressions of intent rather than contracts.
"This agreement creates the basis for the first commercial Hyperloop system in the world here in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," commented Bibop Gresta, chairman of HyperloopTT, in an Aldar press release. "With regulatory support, we hope the first section will be operational in time for Expo 2020."
HyperloopTT is one of the two main start-ups racing to commercialise the futuristic ultra-fast hyperloop tube travel approach dreamed up by Elon Musk.
Musk’s conceptualisation sees magnetically levitated vehicles whizzing along tubes in a partial vacuum at 700 miles per hour, nearly the speed of sound. He believes hyperloops could be an alternative to short- and medium-haul air travel between cities.
Earlier this month HyperloopTT began begun building the first full-scale test system in Toulouse, France.
Its main rival, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One, in February agreed with the Indian state of Maharashtra to study the feasibility of a hyperloop between the cities of Pune and Mumbai.
Speaking to CNN, Bibop Gresta declined to say how much the project would cost the company.
Cost details would be revealed once a feasibility study is finished, he said.
Photograph: HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta, right, and Aldar Properties chief executive Talal Al Dhiyebi, after the MoU signing on 18 April 2018 (HyperloopTT)