(Adds in final paragraph Hyperloop One executive's denial of a
report of a Dubai Expo route plan)
DUBAI Dec 12 Abu Dhabi has signed the United
Arab Emirates' second hyperloop feasibility study to build a
futuristic high-speed transport system connecting the cities of
Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
Abu Dhabi's Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport
(DMAT) and U.S.-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
(HyperloopTT) announced the agreement, which follows a similar
study signed in Dubai last month.
Dubai's Road & Transport Authority (RTA) and U.S.-based
Hyperloop One, a rival to HyperloopTT, agreed on Nov. 8 to
explore routes between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
A hyperloop uses magnets to levitate pods inside an airless
tube, creating conditions in which the pods can shuttle people
and freight at speeds of up to 750 miles (1,200 kms) per hour.
The unproven technology is proposed as a replacement to
existing rail infrastructure.
The UAE has put on hold plans to build its own national rail
network after neighbouring Gulf countries fell behind on their
rail projects that were supposed to link the six states from
Kuwait to Oman.
A hyperloop route could connect Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in
eight to 12 minutes, according to a joint DMAT and HyperloopTT
statement. This compares to the two hours it takes by car today.
The statement said it was "the only initiative of its kind
that has the support of the government of Abu Dhabi."
Hyperloop One is also exploring a route in Dubai connecting
the emirate's Expo site for when it hosts the world's fair in
2020, Creative Director Colin Rhys was quoted as saying by local
newspaper Gulf News on Monday.
However, Rhys later told Reuters he was quoted out of
context and that Hyperloop One was not considering an Expo
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Adrian Croft, Greg