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The time it takes to travel the 150 kilo­me­tres from Dubai to Abu Dhabi could be slashed from two hours to just 12 min­utes thanks to a new near-su­per­sonic form of trans­port.

Dubai’s Road and Trans­port Author­ity (RTA) has signed an agree­ment with pi­o­neer­ing com­pany Hyper­loop One to con­duct a fea­si­bil­ity study into de­liv­er­ing the in­no­va­tive sys­tem, which pro­pels lev­i­tat­ing pods through re­duced-pres­sure tubes at speeds of up to 1200 km per hour.

H. E. Mat­ter Al Tayer, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral & Chair­man of the Board of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tors of the RTA, said: “This is an op­por­tu­nity to help trans­form the UAE from a tech­nol­ogy con­sumer to a tech­nol­ogy creator, in­cu­bat­ing ex­per­tise for a new global in­dus­try, in line with the UAE’s Vi­sion 2021.

“With Hyper­loop One, we will cre­ate a new means of trans­porta­tion, keep­ing our re­gion at the fore­front of trans­porta­tion tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion.”

Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyper­loop One, said: “The lead­ers of the UAE un­der­stand that trans­porta­tion is the new broad­band, with the power to trans­form life through­out the GCC.

“We are now at a stage where, from a tech­no­log­i­cal point of view, we could have a Hyper­loop One sys­tem built in the UAE in the next five years. Our agree­ment with the RTA is the big­gest step yet to­wards achiev­ing this goal.”

Hyper­loop One will be work­ing with McKin­sey & Co. and ar­chi­tec­tural com­pany Bjarke In­gels Group (BIG) – a world-renowned team of ar­chi­tects and engi­neers – on the fea­si­bil­ity study.

Con­cep­tual de­signs have al­ready been re­vealed of Hyper­ports – the pro­posed equiv­a­lent of a sta­tion or air­port – and the in­te­ri­ors and ex­te­ri­ors of in­di­vid­ual pas­sen­ger pods.

BIG founder Bjarke In­gels said: “Col­lec­tive com­mut­ing with in­di­vid­ual free­dom at near su­per­sonic speed: we are head­ing for a fu­ture where our men­tal map of the city is com­pletely re­con­fig­ured, as our ha­bit­ual un­der­stand­ing of dis­tance and prox­im­ity – time and space – is warped by this new form of travel.”

Lloyd added: “The mo­men­tum is global and ac­cel­er­at­ing. The world will see the test of the first full-scale Hyper­loop sys­tem early this year at our Test and Safety Site in Las Ve­gas, and we will have mul­ti­ple op­er­a­tional Hyper­loop sys­tems within five years.”

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