Prince Mohammed met with Virgin Hyperloop One chairman Sir Richard Branson at the Virgin Galactic base in the Mojave Desert of California recently. Saudi Arabia is participating in a feasibility study with Virgin Hyperloop One to introduce the new type of transportation to the country.
Part of the study is reducing the time it takes traveling between the Saudi Arabian cities of Riyadh and Jeddah. What usually takes a vehicle nearly 10 hours to travel between the two cities, Hyperloop One proposes they can cut the travel time down to 1 hour 17 minutes. This can be accomplished by the hyperloop pod traveling at an estimated 700 mph.
After being introduced to the Vision 2030, a hyperloop pod with the Saudi Arabian flag painted on the side, Prince Mohammed stated, “Hyperloop is the catalyst to enable all fourth-generation technologies to flourish in the kingdom while creating a vibrant society and thriving economy through visionary cities and high-tech clusters.”
Virgin Hyperloop One’s CEO Rob Lloyd commented that Prince Mohammed’s visit with the hyperloop team will “kick off the next phase that will make [Virgin Hyperloop One] a reality in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi Arabia is shooting for 2030 to have an operational hyperloop in place as part of its focus and shift to renewable energy.
Virgin Hyperloop One 101
Hyperloop Technologies started in 2014 in a garage in California with the forward-thinking minds of Josh Giegel and Shervin Pishevar. In October of 2017, Virgin and Hyperloop One entered into a strategic partnership and Sir Richard Branson, the eccentric founder of the Virgin Group, became Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One.
Hyperloop One works on a premise to “reinvent transportation to eliminate the barriers of time and distance and unlock vast economic opportunities.”
A hyperloop is a new and improved mode of transportation, referred to as a pod, that can move people or cargo in a quick, safe manner from one point to another. The vehicle uses magnets to float above a track accelerating electrically all while enclosed in a tube. Speeds are estimated to be 10-15 times a standard train and just as fast, if not faster, than airplanes.
The tracking will be built underground or on columns aboveground. The vehicle requires no humans to operate and emits no carbon into the environment.
Virgin Hyperloop One’s goal is to be affordable for everyone to ride and a goal of 2021 is set to have operational systems up and ready for travel.
To put this in perspective, here is the time breakdown in 3 different transportation modes from Los Angles, California to Boston, Massachusetts:
• Via automobile – 50 hours 20 minutes
• Via airplane 5 hours 30 minutes
• Via Hyperloop One 4 hours 45 minutes
Current Studies of Potential Hyperloop Locations in the U.S.
Hyperloop is involved in an environmental impact study exploring a hyperloop from Columbus, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois, and ending in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All cities are tech savvy and the benefits of connecting the 3 cities will create great opportunity for easy job mobility and valuable economic collaboration.
Missouri has always been on the forefront of transportation. So, it makes sense they are exploring a hyperloop to run along I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City. Connecting Missouri’s two largest metro areas could build a collaborative economic ecosystem for business and continue to recognize Missouri as a world leader in transportation and a pioneer in shaping its future.