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Virgin Hyperloop One Gives Full Scale Demo to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince

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【Summary】In California’s Mohave Desert, the Crown Prince unveiled the Vision 2030 Hyperloop Pod, further cementing his commitment to bring hyperloop technology to Saudi Arabia.

Eric Walz    Apr 06, 2018 11:55 AM PT
Virgin Hyperloop One Gives Full Scale Demo to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince
author: Eric Walz   

Executives from Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) hosted His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during his visit this week to the Virgin Galactic test site in the Mojave desert in California.

In California's Mohave Desert, the Crown Prince unveiled the Vision 2030 Hyperloop Pod, further cementing his commitment to bring hyperloop technology to Saudi Arabia.

Virgin Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has built a fully operational hyperloop system. Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system.

The hyperloop vehicles accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle, or pod, floats above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

Virgin Hyperloop One systems can be built on columns or tunneled below ground. Hyperloop is fully autonomous and enclosed, eliminating pilot error and weather hazards, with no direct carbon emissions.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in the U.S. exploring investment opportunities within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan and also vet viable investment oppourtunities within the United States that are suitable for reinforcing bilateral business ties.

Saudi Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.

Virgin Hyperloop One was created shortly after Tesla co-founder Elon Musk first proposed the idea of a Hyperloop in 2013.

The Crown Prince proposed a series of high-speed Hyperloop tunnels throughout Saudi Arabia. One of these tunnels could run between the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah and slash travel time to just 76 minutes compared to the 10 hours needed by car. A tunnel between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is also a possibility which would shorten the trip from 8.5 hours to just 48 minutes.

"We're look forward to advancing the relationship between KSA and VHO while we develop innovative transport technologies like hyperloop, accelerating Vision 2030 objectives to transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from a technology consumer to a technology innovator" said His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. "Hyperloop is the catalyst to enable all 4th generation technologies to flourish in the Kingdom while creating a vibrant society and thriving economy through visionary cities and high-tech clusters."

"Our continued support from HRH and collaboration with Vision 2030 will allow the VHO system to connect with cities across the Kingdom turning commute times from hours into minutes" said Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and CTO of Virgin Hyperloop One. "It was an honor to host HRH the Crown Prince and advance our discussions around the implementation of the hyperloop system and Innovation Center facility, enabling Vision 2030 to nurture the nation's entrepreneurial culture, and grow an innovative highly-skilled workforce through meaningful transfers of knowledge and technology."

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During the visit, Virgin Hyperloop One and HRH discussed how the hyperloop-enabled transportation sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will stimulate economic growth and diversification of Saudi industries, nurture manufacturing and innovation sectors, and spur job growth in support of the country's Vision 2030 plan.

"We've started this journey through Virgin Hyperloop One partnership with the MiSK Foundation supporting bright, young Saudi talent through an internship exchange program at the company's Innovation Campus in the United States." said Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd. "Today's visit and discussions kick off the next phase that will make VHO a reality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Virgin Hyperloop One is backed by key investors including DP World, Caspian VC Partners, Virgin Group, Sherpa Capital, Abu Dhabi Capital Group and others.

Also during his three week visit to the U.S., the Crown Prince met with executives at Boeing in Seattle and stopped in Silicon Valley to meet with executives from Facebook, Google and Lockheed Martin.

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