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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

The UAE is leading the world in the race to conquer time

Hyperloop has found its ideal home and it will transform the way we live

California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has signed an agreement for a 10km-long commercial hyperloop network in the UAE. Courtesy Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has signed an agreement for a 10km-long commercial hyperloop network in the UAE. Courtesy Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

On a good day, it takes an hour and a bit to drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. But good days, as any commuter will tell you, are very rare on the roads. Distance has always been the nemesis of that most valuable and finite of human resources: time. An average British worker, for instance, spends 400 days of his or her life travelling from home to work and back. While the world’s advanced economies look for fixes to quicken travel times, the UAE is racing to conquer time itself. On Wednesday, Aldar Properties entered into an historic agreement with California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies that will make the UAE the home of the world’s first commercial Hyperloop network, which could one day whisk commuters from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 15 minutes or less in super-fast pods propelled by electro-magnetic levitation engineering. Development work will commence in 2019 on Aldar’s Seih Al Sdeirah landbank in Abu Dhabi. The time for memorandums of understanding has given way to a period of action - the first phase of Hyperloop, a 10km route, is due in time for Expo 2020.

The Hyperloop network, which will be accompanied by an innovation centre and a visitor centre, will gradually expand across the country. HyperloopTT is building a test track in France, but the UAE is where it will first become commercially operational. As Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of HyperloopTT said, “A forward-thinking nation like the UAE is ideal for building the most revolutionary, most efficient, and fastest transportation system in the world”. Reduction in travel times will radically overhaul our lifestyles. It will change the way we perceive spaces. What we now think of as far-flung could become as accessible as the neighbourhood park if the plans are fully realised. A restaurant operating in Ras Al Khaimah might count diners from Al Ain among its regulars. There will be nothing unusual about, say, working in Abu Dhabi and living in Fujairah. The obliteration of the distances that separate people could boost the economy in countless ways and enrich our lives immeasurably, but what must happen next is for the grand vision of today to become the reality of tomorrow's world.