Wrong airport? Al Maktoum to DXB in 360 seconds
Suddenly, from "it's impossible", the retort changed to "it's hyperbolic"! From science-fiction, it turned into a tech-probability.
At first it didn't make sense. They said the technology was a pipedream, so to speak. Faster, cleaner, cheaper - but only on paper. Overhyped and under-looped, we heard them say in a continuous loop. Yeah, we're talking about the Hyperloop, the proposed fifth mode of travel that is purported to be able to transport humans and their belongings in a pod via a sealed pipe or tube, powered by nothing. Not nothing, but, well, vacuum. So, nothing. No doubt it didn't make sense at first.
But then came the proof of the pudding, ermm concept... proof of concept. On a sleepy weekend, one of the companies working on making Hyperloop a reality took a 28-feet long aluminium and carbon fibre pod and crammed it into a 1.6km long tunnel from which (almost) all the air had been sucked out. This happened somewhere in the Nevada desert in 2017. The passenger pod attained a speed of over 300km/hour and travelled about 1,000 feet before the brakes kicked in, but not before proving that this was more than a pipedream.
Suddenly, from "it's impossible", the retort changed to "it's hyperbolic"! From science-fiction, it turned into a tech-probability. And we're getting there - or, rather, getting it here. Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 11 minutes. Abu Dhabi to Riyadh in 48. To Fujairah in 10. You get the idea. In fact, when (not if) Hyperloop is a reality, that constant fear that travellers have of arriving at the wrong airport in a multiple-airport city will be taken care of. Dubai International to
Al Maktoum Airport? 360 seconds, Sir.
How can you not fall in love with such a romantic piece of technology that promises to transport you and your cargo at supersonic speed in a levitating train through a vacuum? Are there still concerns and challenges? Oh, plenty. Concerns range from safety, cost, and environment impact to infrastructure stability in the face of weather/climate changes, which need to be addressed definitively for Hyperloop to be able to do what it says on the can - to be a commercially viable mass transit system. But with the advancing technology, it's probably only a matter of time before such challenges are overcome. Tubular transport is the future of commute - get ready to be squeezed into a tunnel.