Hyperloop to Debut in United Arab Emirates?
August 23, 2016
By Marc Fogarty
When a metal sled sped down the football-length track in the Nevada desert at a 2.4 gravitational force in May 2016, the founders of Hyperloop One called it a “Kitty Hawk moment.”
Originally conceived by Elon Musk, hyperloop is powered by passive magnetic levitation technology. Transportation pods will be enclosed in depressurized tubes; by eliminating friction and air resistance, designers expect hyperloop to reach speeds of more than 700 miles per hour. That could take people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes. While those speeds may seem unsettling to potential travelers, hyperloop developers liken it to riding in an elevator. It remains to be seen if hyperloop will be above ground, below ground, underwater or some combination.
Hyperloop One is targeting 2019 to be able to move cargo and 2021 to move people. In fact, Hyperloop One and DP World, the third-largest terminal operator in the world, agreed to do an economic feasibility study on how to deploy the system at Dubai's Jebel Ali Port. DP World is interested in a possible submerged, floating hyperloop system to rapidly move cargo.
There is widespread optimism that hyperloop will revolutionize travel not only by its speed, but by doing so without carbon emissions. However, hyperloop still faces a variety of challenges, including safety and land use rights. Furthermore, some estimates have pegged the LA to SF construction costs at anywhere from $6 billion to $100 billion.
Hyperloop One is headed by venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, whose firm is a major funder of Uber. But the Hyperloop project is a collaborative affair that includes other VC firms, transportation specialists, technology experts, dozens of engineers, and those with a political background, as well as hundreds of open source participants.
To date, Hyperloop One has secured $120 million in funding. Pishevar has indicated that additional cash generated by Uber could go into hyperloop development.