Virgin Hyperloop One has announced a development partnership with the Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority.
Under the plans the company will 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 this week at Virgin Hyperloop One’s Los Angeles headquarters during a visit from a senior delegation of Saudia Arabia’s Economic City Authority, led by secretary-general Mohanud Helal.
The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City, 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.
“Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia,” said Helal.
“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,” he added.
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 will visit the Virgin Hyperloop One testing facility in Nevada to conduct a technical review, followed by the publication of an academic paper.
“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,” said Jay Walder, chief executive, Virgin Hyperloop One.
“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.”
Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology features depressurised tubes that carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds up to 1,080 kilometres per hour.