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History is made: First passengers ride the hyperloop

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on November 9, 2020 | Last updated on November 9, 2020 at 11.35 pm

Image: Virgin Hyperloop

Photo: Wam

Photo: Wam

Photo: Wam

Photo: Wam

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and CEO of DP World, watched the passenger testing first-hand.

History was made on Monday when passengers travelled in a hyperloop pod in the first-ever test drive of the new transportation technology developed by Virgin Hyperloop in Las Vegas.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and CEO of DP World, watched the passenger testing first-hand. Dubai's DP World has pumped in millions of dollars into the project's research and development.

The hyperloop pod reached 172km on the 500-metre long test track and the company is hopeful that it can achieve 950km speed.

Virgin Hyperloop's co-founder and chief technology officer Josh Giegel and director of passenger experience Sara Luchian were the first people in the world to ride on this new form of transportation. The company has previously run over 400 un-occupied tests.

"I had the true pleasure of seeing history made before my very eyes - to witness the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years come to life," said Sultan Ahmed.

"I have always had tremendous faith in the team at Virgin Hyperloop to transform this technology into a safe system, and today we have done that. We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods," he added.

The successful test will pave the way for the certification of hyperloop systems around the world - a key step towards commercial projects, including those in Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Once approved and deployed by authorities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi will also be connected with hyperloop, which will reduce travel time between the two emirates to 12 minutes.

The occupants made their maiden voyage on the newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, which was custom-built with occupant safety and comfort in mind. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this 2-seater XP-2 vehicle was built to demonstrate that passengers can in fact safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.

History is made: First passengers ride the hyperloop (KT26721119.PNG)

"I can't tell you how often I get asked 'is hyperloop safe?'," said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.

"With today's passenger testing, we have successfully answered this question, demonstrating that not only can Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment, but that the company has a thoughtful approach to safety which has been validated by an independent third party."

History is made: First passengers ride the hyperloop (KT26722119.PNG)

Virgin Hyperloop continues to be active in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia is leading the world with a first-of-its-kind national hyperloop study to evaluate how a hyperloop carrying both passenger and cargo could spark economic benefits, create jobs and develop high-tech skills. The study, commissioned by Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, will lay the groundwork for a network of hyperloop routes to be considered across Saudi Arabia.

"Today's successful passenger testing brings us one step closer to commercial hyperloop projects in the Gulf region," said Harj Dhaliwal, managing director of Middle East and India for Virgin Hyperloop.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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