As High Speed 2 continues to progress in the UK, a scheme in the Middle East may soon provide a new method of transport that renders it obsolete before it’s even finished.
You’ll have heard of the hyperloop by now – Tesla founder Elon Musk’s grand idea to provide high-speed, high-capacity, low-carbon mass transit.
Hyperloop One is probably the better-known of two start-ups that were founded to take Mr Musk’s research forward and develop a workable concept of the system (Hyperloop Transportation Technologies being the other).
Dubai the first port of call
The firm has this week agreed a memorandum of understanding with DP World, one of the globe’s biggest port operators, to collaborate on feasibility studies into building a hyperloop system for cargo transportation at its Jebel Ali port in Dubai.
Why Dubai? Well, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd told TechCrunch earlier this week that the emirate has “got the infrastructure, regulatory movement and kind of capital in place needed to build it already”.
So mainly, companies there have pockets deep enough to fund the thing in the first place, while more relaxed planning laws than, say, the UK mean it’s easier to get to the point where you could actually build it.
“The agreement in Dubai shows that this is perhaps closer to becoming reality than many people think”
TechCrunch also reported that DP World’s hope is to use a submerged, floating hyperloop to redirect cargo and free up more space on land. The firm has just spent billions upgrading the port so will increasingly need to be able to move cargo faster as it gets even bigger.
From cargo to human hyperloop
It’s an interesting development and could mean that Dubai is home to the first operational hyperloop in the world.
And while it’s designed for cargo transportation, it surely won’t take long before attention turns to ensuring it’s safe for humans, if and when the concept is proven.
Here in the UK, our transport debate is dominated by talk over HS2 and increased airport capacity – but a 700 mph-plus hyperloop would blow both of those out of the water, so to speak.
It’s an unproven technology at the moment, of course, and is still a long way off. But the agreement in Dubai shows that this is perhaps closer to becoming reality than many people think.
And that could really alter the landscape for those who build transport infrastructure, wherever they work.
Construction Investing in Talent Awards
The inaugural Construction Investing in Talent Awards take place on 8 December this year in London.
While construction is often best known for its eye-catching projects, it’s the teams behind those projects – both onsite and in the office – who make them a success.
So if you work in HR, recruitment, talent or L&D, these awards are here to recognise your hard work.