Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

European Union to regulate Hyperloop technology

Guideline documents will form regulatory framework for high speed land travel in the UAE

European Union regulators are evaluating safety documents for a high speed transport system in production by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Courtesy: HTT
European Union regulators are evaluating safety documents for a high speed transport system in production by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Courtesy: HTT

Safety guidelines for Hyperloop technology, with the potential to transport passengers at the speed of sound, will be regulated by the European Commission, following similar steps in the UAE.

The proposed mode of passenger transport became a concept project by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk in 2012.

It uses a magnetic levitation system to move capsules filled with passengers through an airless tube at more than 1,200 kph, slashing travel times between supported destinations.

European regulators are assessing documents that will set generic guidelines for design, operation and certification of the technology for travel between member states.

Two international firms are leading the race to bring a working Hyperloop system to the mass transport market, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and the DP World-backed Virgin Hyperloop One.

Both operators are planning routes in the UAE, and elsewhere, with a likely unveiling of working demonstration tracks due later this year.

Hyperloop TT is planning three high-speed cargo lines along a 60km track from the key port of Hamburg, Germany.

“We are working with governments around the world to create the necessary legal framework,” said Andres De Leon, chief operating officer of HyperloopTT.

“It is exciting to see these efforts move forward.

“The United States has created a special council for Hyperloop commercialisation and the European Commission has now taken the first step in creating industry wide regulations.”

The guideline document under review will form part of the regulatory framework for Hyperloop in the UAE, if approved.

Last September, HTT became the world’s first company to offer an insured commercial system, working with Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company and TUV SUD.

The company created the first regulatory guidelines and legal framework for Hyperloop systems around the world.

HTT is currently testing their Quintero One capsule along a 320 metre tubular track in Toulouse, France, but has also struck a deal with Aldar Properties to develop a transport research and development centre in Abu Dhabi.

Construction of a 10-kilometre Hyperloop transport system is planned in an area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Virgin Hyperloop One is also pressing on with its version of the technology, with a simulator planned for the US Pavilion at Expo 2020.

The firm currently has a 500-metre test track, built in 2017, and a prototype in Arizona.

According to US financial reports, VHO has raised $172 million (Dh632m) in new funding to continue its development of the high-speed transport system.

VHO is in partnership with Dubai Ports to develop the DP World Cargospeed, a logistics service providing air speed deliveries, at the price of land transport.

Hyperloop TT is currently working alongside global safety experts TUV SUD to achieve a European certification to the directorate-general for mobility and transport in Brussels.

Guidelines detail more than 125 system requirements that Hyperloop TT claims will make its system a safe, realistic form of high-speed transport for the masses.

“The EU is a world reference for transport research, safety standards and regulation,” said Elisabeth Werner, director of land transport at DG Move, the department responsible for implementing European transport policy.

“Hyperloop as a new transport technology can be a great opportunity to connect EU countries and regions, and deliver energy efficient, carbon-free land transport.”

Updated: May 26, 2019 01:48 PM