Virgin Hyperloop One and Saudi Arabia's KAUST partner to spur country's technology and transport development

World's leading hyperloop company and Saudi's renowned King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) sign agreement during Future Investment Initiative

  
Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One and Dr. Tony Chan, President at KAUST

Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One and Dr. Tony Chan, President at KAUST

RIYADH, KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA :– Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO), the world’s leading hyperloop company, today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kingdom’s renowned King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Signed at this year’s Future Investment Initiative, one of the most significant investment conferences globally, the California-based hyperloop company and the Kingdom’s leading private research institution have committed to working together on fostering the exchange of scientific and technological knowledge to further support the development of the country’s technology and transportation sector.

Present at the signing on the VHO pavilion in Riyadh were Jay Walder, Chief Executive Officer at VHO and Dr. Tony Chan, President at KAUST.

Excited about the new partnership, HE Sultan bin Sulayem, VHO’s Chairman, said, “Saudi Arabia’s vision and willingness to embrace new technology is unrivalled. Having the opportunity to partner with one of the country’s most prestigious research universities such as KAUST is a significant collaboration for us. Together we hope to spur the development of the regional technology and transportation infrastructure for a connected Gulf.”

The latest knowledge exchange programme is not the first of its kind between the Kingdom and VHO. Already in 2017, VHO started its journey through a technology partnership with the MiSK Foundation, through which the company welcomed a select group of Saudi students to its Los Angeles Innovation Campus. The purpose of the partnership was to further the knowledge exchange between VHO and young, aspiring Saudi students. 

Representing KAUST at the signing, Dr. Tony Chan, said, “Partnering with one of the most innovative technology companies in the world presents us with great opportunities. Having visited the first VHO test site in Las Vegas myself, I believe the hyperloop technology is hugely impressive and will truly transform the way passengers and goods are being moved in the 21st century. I have high expectation that this partnership will be mutually beneficial, given KAUST’s talent pool of top faculty, students and research scientists, as well as our world-class research facilities, and the wealth of knowledge possessed by the 200+ strong engineering team at VHO. Fully aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, we see this as a unique opportunity to support our leadership’s vision”.

The announcement comes only days after the leading developer of hyperloop technology and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) have published their findings on the feasibility of creating a VHO Centre of Excellence, which includes the world’s first full-speed testing track and a manufacturing facility from which Hyperloop parts would be exported to other market.  

If approved, the Centre could break ground within KAEC in 2020, and thus propel the Kingdom to the forefront of hyperloop development worldwide. The report also illustrated how the Centre will drive domestic value by adding to the creation of more than 124,000 high-tech local jobs, supporting the technology sector by incorporating advances in robotics and AI and driving an estimated $4billion increase in KSA GDP by 2030. 

Commenting on the Centre, VHO’s Jay Walder, said: “With Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology we are transforming inspiration into practical innovation. We have developed patented technology and are building a strong network of public and private partners committed to making hyperloop the catalyst of a transportation revolution in years to come.”

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About Virgin Hyperloop One

Virgin Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has built a fully operational hyperloop system. Our team has the world's leading experts in engineering, technology, and transport project delivery, working in tandem with global partners and investors to make hyperloop a reality, now. Virgin Hyperloop One is backed by key investors including DP World, Caspian VC Partners, Virgin Group, Sherpa Capital, Abu Dhabi Capital Group, SNCF, GE Ventures, Formation 8, 137 Ventures, WTI, among others. For more information, visit www.virginhyperloopone.com 

About King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Established in 2009, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the world’s most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the areas of food, water, energy and the environment. With 19 research areas related to these themes and state-of-the art labs, KAUST has created a collaborative and interdisciplinary problem- solving environment, which has resulted in over 11,000 published papers to date. 

With over 100 different nationalities living, working and studying on campus, KAUST has brought together the best minds and ideas from around the world with the goal of advancing science and technology through distinctive and collaborative research. KAUST is a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity in Saudi Arabia and the world.

For additional information, visit: www.kaust.edu.sa  

For media enquiries, please contact:
Christoph Diesch
Edelman Middle East
christoph.diesch@edelman.com
+971 56 996 2086

© Press Release 2019

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