TII and Virgin Hyperloop announce R&D partnership to advance future transport and logistics in the UAE

Advanced Materials Research Centre in UAE

Collaboration seeks to accelerate research and development of hyperloop technology, encourage economic growth, and create a sustainable transportation ecosystem

The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the dedicated  ‘applied research’ pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), and Virgin Hyperloop (VH), the leader in hyperloop development, today announced their collaboration on research, innovation and localisation of the futuristic transportation method.

The agreement was signed by His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of ATRC; and Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop, during a virtual ceremony.

Transporting passengers and goods at speeds exceeding 1,000km/h, hyperloop is a completely new form of transport with the ambition to become the most sustainable means of mass transportation. Technology Innovation Institute and Virgin Hyperloop will explore research for hyperloop systems on TII’s premises, including pulsed power and magnetic levitation technologies and material sciences, which are key to developing the next-generation transport system.

Technology Innovation Institute has seven initial dedicated research centres in quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, secure systems, and directed energy. The partnership will involve cooperation between three of TII’s research centres; Directed Energy Research Centre (DERC), Autonomous Robotics Research Centre (ARRC) and Advanced Materials Research Centre (AMRC).

His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of ATRC, said: “As the R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE continues to evolve at a rapid pace, particularly with the formation of the ATRC and TII, we are proud to partner with Virgin Hyperloop to achieve global breakthroughs in transportation, AI, and sustainable energy solutions. Advanced technology allows us to progress every aspect of life and collaborations with industry partners like Virgin Hyperloop help leverage it for the greater good.”

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, said: “The collaboration between Technology Innovation Institute and Virgin Hyperloop will strengthen the position of the United Arab Emirates as a global research hub. We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods.

Hyperloop is a cutting-edge technology that will drive entrepreneurship and leadership in the transportation space through the partnership with TII. This in turn will provide opportunities for economic growth through the creation of a strong R&D hub in line with the country’s vision”.

Technology Innovation Institute aims to help create a better world by developing the most advanced, disruptive technological innovations. Examples of research within its centres include autonomous robotics for a demand responsive platform, materials for sustainable infrastructure, future autonomous robotics systems, energy saving innovations, and digital security and communications for hyperloop systems.

Virgin Hyperloop has been making major strides in advancing this new form of mass transportation. In November, transportation history was made when Virgin Hyperloop tested human travel in a hyperloop pod for the first time. Dubai-based leading global provider of smart logistics solutions, DP World, has made this milestone possible through a multi-million-dollar investment for the research and development of hyperloop technology.

Virgin Hyperloop’s Managing Director of the Middle East and India, Harj Dhaliwal, who attended the virtual ceremony, said: “Abu Dhabi’s thriving technology sector will provide a perfect location as we look to advance hyperloop technology and foster successful public-private partnerships with key organisations within the ecosystem. We are happy to support this opportunity for Abu Dhabi and the UAE to lead in innovative transportation and export that knowledge across the world.”

The partnership not only creates an opportunity for a research hub but also provides Abu Dhabi with a first mover advantage on a passenger and cargo system. A hyperloop network in the Arabian Gulf region could move up to 45 million passengers per year, powered by solar panels covering the tube.