“A network emanating from Riyadh connecting to Abu Dhabi in 48 minutes,” said Virgin Hyperloop CEO and Co-Founder Josh Giegel of his dream for the Middle East. “Going over to Dubai. From there, going out to Kuwait, going over to Jeddah, going up to Neom. Going over to all these areas and being able to access any part within an hour from Riyadh or no more than two hours across the whole region.”
The first commercial train is expected to debut before the end of the decade, either in Saudi Arabia or India according to Hyperloop Chairman, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. Regardless of which comes first, Saudi Arabia is an appealing location thanks to the development projects emerging from Saudi Vision 2030.
“Neom is a new city, and with a new city comes new opportunities. It’s a new technology. It’s an opportunity for new technologies,” he said. “You look at the speed at which they want to connect, their sustainability missions, their idea that they want to modernize the way cities are built and export. And they’re looking for varieties of technologies to connect people, to get people where they want to go quickly, sustainably. And Hyperloop checks all those boxes.”
Models of the Hyperloop passenger and cargo pods are on display for the public at Dubai Expo 2020, which runs until March 2022.
“Last year, when I was one of the first passengers to ride on a Hyperloop system, it really elevated the excitement,” Giegel said. “It was like ‘oh this isn’t just something that’s 10, 20 years from now. It’s now. And so this idea of ‘The Decade of Hyperloop,’ it started with Sara and I being the first two people to ride on a Hyperloop, and it’s gonna end with millions of people riding it, hopefully in the Middle East.”
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