Virgin’s Hyperloop One company has signed a deal with Saudi Arabia to build a test track for its futuristic transport concept.
Saudi Arabia could host the longest test and certification hyperloop track in the world after a partnership deal was signed between Virgin Hyperloop One and the kingdom’s Economic City Authority (ECA).
Under the partnership agreement, a study will be conducted focusing on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), 100km north of Jeddah, with a view to building a 35km test and certification track.
The track will create opportunities to develop specific hyperloop technologies as well as local expertise in Saudi Arabia, which will be commercialised and scaled.
The hyperloop concept involves a pressurized pod with a vehicle carrying passengers or cargo up to 10 times faster than the current rail.
Virgin Hyperloop One said the technology could reduce the journey from Riyadh to Jeddah to 76 minutes, compared with more than 10 hours currently.
Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology features depressurized tubes that carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds of up to 1080 kilometers per hour.
With speeds three times faster than high-speed rail and an on-demand, direct to destination experience, hyperloop technology can reduce journey times across Saudi Arabia.
It may also connect the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) in future, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman. Travelling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours).