Virgin Hyperloop One wants to open its first office outside of the US in the UAE, the head of the company’s Middle East and India revealed on Monday.
Speaking to news outlet CNN, Harj Dhaliwal said: “We are actually setting up our first office outside of the US in Dubai. A hyperloop system will provide that 1% of additional GDP to a region within the UAE.”
The proposed ultra-high speed transportation project promises to transport people between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 12 minutes, with speeds hitting around 600mph – roughly the same as a modern airliner.
Still largely nascent, the technology – which uses electromagnetic propulsion to accelerate trains through a low-pressure tube – has quickly gathered interest from Virgin’s Richard Branson, who chairs Virgin Hyperloop One's board of directors following an agreement with the Virgin Group in October last year.
Others too like Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (Hyperloop TT) – the company bringing hyperloop to fellow emirate Abu Dhabi – are also looking to gain a sizeable market share of what could be a revolutionary method of land-based travel.
"The big challenge for anyone wanting to build a hyperloop is its costs," said CCN, as quoted on social media on Monday. “After that it’s finding the land to build on and the political will to do it. Dubai has the money land and desire. That’s why Virgin Hyperloop one is setting up shop there.”
The announcement came only a month after Hyperloop TT reached an agreement to build a 10km hyperloop track in a mountainous stretch of Tongren, a city in China's southwestern Guizhou Province.
Mayor of Tongren, Chen Shaorong, called the Tongren agreement a "major step" to "enlarge and strengthen the local economy".