Hyperloop to build world’s first long-range test track in Saudi Arabia
Hyperloop’s R&D facilities, testing and manufacturing facilities are expected to have a profound impact upon the economy of Saudi Arabia.
Virgin Hyperloop One, the only hyperloop company in the world to successfully test its hyperloop technology at scale, today announced a development partnership with the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA) to conduct a study to build the world’s longest test and certification hyperloop track, as well as a research and development centre and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.
The announcement took place at Virgin Hyperloop One’s Los Angeles headquarters during a visit from a senior delegation of Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority, led by Secretary-General Mohanud A. Helal. The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), located 100 kilometres north of the Red Sea port of Jeddah. The project, which would include a 35-kilometre test and certification track, will create opportunities for the development of specific hyperloop technologies and develop local expertise in Saudi Arabia which be commercialised and scaled. The study will also facilitate the development of localised hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the Kingdom.
Secretary General Mohanud A. Helal, said: “Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia. As we continue to help deliver the strategic pillars of Vision 2030, technology transfer and high-tech job creation opportunities that this relationship will bring are fundamental to our progress as a nation and our efforts to create opportunities for our bright young people.
“Having hyperloop at King Abdullah Economic City is going to act as a catalyst for a Saudi Silicon Valley effect and galvanise our software development, high technology research, and manufacturing industries.”
In parallel to the implementation of the Study, Prince Mohammad bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship will collaborate on the creation and publication of an academic paper outlining the economic impact of a Hyperloop Centre of Excellence in KAEC. Additionally, experts from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will visit the Virgin Hyperloop One testing facility in Nevada to conduct a technical review, followed by the publication of an academic paper.
Jay Walder, CEO, Virgin Hyperloop One, said: “With Vision 2030, the Kingdom has demonstrated bold leadership to advance game-changing solutions. A hyperloop system could help enable Saudi Arabia to become a global transportation powerhouse, nurture the nation’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture, and grow an innovative knowledge workforce. I look forward to this collaboration with our visionary partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn this technology into a mass transportation solution.”
Abdallah S. Jum’ah, Saudi Co-Chairman, U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council and Former CEO, Saudi Aramco, commented: “The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council congratulations the Economic Cities Authority and the Virgin Hyperloop One on this historic initiative for the future of transportation and mobility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology features depressurised tubes that carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds up to 1080 kilometres per hour. With speeds three times faster than high-speed rail and an on-demand, direct to destination experience, hyperloop technology can reduce journey times across Saudi Arabia, exponentially increasing connectivity across not only across the country but throughout the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC), which includes the countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman. Travelling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilising the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning Saudi Arabia as the gateway to three continents. Travelling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours).