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Hyperloop Projects Move Forward

Monday, April 23, 2018

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After months with little in the way of updates, transit startup Hyperloop Transportation Technologies last week revealed progress in two countries: a track set to be built in Abu Dhabi, and the company’s third test track, under construction in France.

Abu Dhabi Project

HTT recently signed an agreement with Aldar Properties PJSC, the developer behind Yas Island's Formula 1 racing circuit, to begin construction on the Abu Dhabi Hyperloop project, which is slated for completion in 2020. According to CNBC, the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) line will be developed close on the border of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai emirates, and will be completed in several phases.

The transportation system, not yet in commercial use anywhere on the globe, makes use of a depressurized cylinder made up of a series of steel tubes through which levitating cylindrical passenger (or freight) pods travel at high speeds on a cushion of air.

Images: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

HTT recently signed an agreement with Aldar Properties PJSC, the developer behind Yas Island's Formula 1 racing circuit, to begin construction on the project, which is slated for completion in 2020.

"This agreement creates the basis for the first commercial Hyperloop system in the world here in the Emirates, with the goal of connecting Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, Dubai, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia," said Bibop Gresta, chairman of HTT.

"With regulatory support, we hope the first section will be operational in time for Expo 2020."

Expo 2020, open from Oct. 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021, will be held in Dubai and is expected to draw millions of visitors. The focus of the 2020 iteration is innovation and collaboration.

HTT has been working with a number of governments in a bid to commercialize its technology, but has mostly remained focused on conducting feasibility studies. The announcement regarding Abu Dhabi seems to be the first concrete outcome of these efforts, noted CNBC.

France Test Track

HTT’s testing and evaluation stages are far from over, though: The company is also opening a kilometer-long test track in Toulouse, France. The track itself is the reportedly the world’s first full-scale Hyperloop passenger and freight system.

According to The Verge, this track will also be built in phases: a closed 320-meter (1,079-foot) system that will be operational later this year, and a 1-kilometer-long system, elevated to 5.8 meters in height by pylons, is slated for completion in 2019.

This summer will also see the delivery of a full-scale passenger capsule.

Otherwise, HTT’s testing and evaluation stages are not out of the woods yet: The company is also opening a kilometer-long test track in Toulouse, France.

This marks the third hyperloop test track to date, and is the first in Europe. (The other two are located in the U.S., one being HTT competitor Virgin Hyperloop One’s north-of-Las Vegas location, and the other outside of SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.)

According to The Verge, HTT is more of a crowdfunding campaign than a traditional business. The company claims to be completely volunteer-run and crowdsourced, with talent from NASA, Boeing, Tesla, and SpaceX working on its projects.

Yet the company has run into some issues: namely the delay of its test track in California after the company failed to complete the state’s environmental review process. The company has since shifted much of its focus to Europe, and it remains unclear if the California property is still a factor.

Hyperloop History

The Hyperloop concept originated with inventor Elon Musk, who then made the basic plan “open source,” a practice borrowed from the software world, in which a plan or set of code is opened up to the public for further development. That opened the door to HTT and its prime competitor, Hyperloop One (now known as Virgin Hyperloop One), to begin work on bringing the idea to life.

HTT recently expanded its footprint in the United States in February, entering agreements with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to study the possibility of a Hyperloop system between Chicago and Cleveland.


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; Mass transit; Transportation; Tunnel

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