DUBAI: Hyperloop, which is expected to transport passengers and freight at a speed of an airplane, could become a reality before 2030, not after several decades, said DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.
In an interview with CNN at the Expo 2020 site, where a full-scale Hyperloop pod is being exhibited, Sulayem said Hyperloop could be rolled out by the end of 2030. It is more likely to be rolled out first in India or Saudi Arabia, he said.
“It’s not decades, it’s years. Our hope is that when we achieve economies of scale and you have long routes and it is popular, probably for the speed of an airplane you will pay with the price of a truck”, he said.
Hyperloop could slash journey times between cities to less than half an hour. It is currently being developed by several companies, including Virgin Hyperloop, in which the DP World holds a majority stake.
Virgin Hyperloop has so far successfully tested the technology at scale. Last November, the company tested human travel in a hyperloop pod for the first time. It is building a system that can propel passenger or cargo pods at speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers per hour, or three times faster than high-speed rail and more than ten times faster than traditional rail.
As of 2020, the company had raised more than $400 million from investors, including DP World. Sulayem said DP World decided to invest in Virgin Hyperloop as “an insurance against disruption”.
“The biggest risk today is technology disruption. And if they are disrupted and you [don’t] do anything about it, that’s a problem,” he said.