Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the firms developing the super-fast transport method, will begin building a track in Abu Dhabi with the aim of having it operational by 2020.
The company signed an agreement with Aldar Properties PJSC, the developer behind Yas Island’s Formula 1 racing circuit, to begin construction of the hyperloop system.
It will be developed close to the site of Expo 2020 and Al Maktoum International Airport, on the border of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai emirates. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
HTT plans construction of the 10 kilometer line in several phases.
“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.” Bibop Gresta, chairman of HTT, said in a press release Wednesday.
“With regulatory support, we hope the first section will be operational in time for Expo 2020.”
Expo 2020 is a big festival being held in Dubai which is expected to draw millions of visitors between its opening day on October 20, 2020 and closing on April 10, 2021.
HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn told CNBC in January that the company would announce its first track location this year, and said the Middle East was a leading candidate. Wednesday’s announcement confirms this.
A hyperloop would work by propelling pods through a large tube at speeds of 750 mph using magnets, and was originally thought up by billionaire Elon Musk in 2013.
HTT has been working with a number of governments to try to commercialize its technology. But so far it has just been carrying out so-called “feasibility studies” — with the aim of exploring if a hyperloop system is economically viable in some countries. The Abu Dhabi announcement appears to be the first real outcome of those studies.
The company is also working on building a passenger capsule that would run on its track and Ahlborn told CNBC in January that it should be ready by “mid-year”.