Plans for a hyperloop route linking Abu Dhabi and Al Ain have received financial backing from a royal family member.
On Sunday it was announced that Sheikh Falah bin Zayed had signed an agreement with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloppTT) to support the project, according to The National.
Moustafa Samir, an adviser to Sheikh Falah, said the backing was due to the royal’s desire to support projects that strengthen Abu Dhabi, develop the emirate’s infrastructure and boost economic growth.
The deal follows the announcement of a six-month feasibility study of the system in December.
HyperloopTT chairman and co-founder Bibop Gresta said the backing meant the company had surpassed $100m in investment, according to the publication.
Like its rival Hyperloop One, which is conducting a similar study in Dubai, HyperloopTT has approached governments across the world to examine the feasibility of projects in their respective countries.
Gresta said the first project could begin in just over three years when government approval had been granted.
“In this region there is a vision and once Abu Dhabi sets its mind on doing something, it does it,” he was quoted as saying.
The hyperloop concept, which involves propelling pods through vacuum tubes at speeds of up to 750 miles an hour, was first proposed by Tesla founder Elon Musk in 2013.
The concept has yet to be fully tested, with Hyperloop One expected to conduct its first full systems test at a track in Nevada this quarter.
Other concerns include cost. Gresta told The National the price could be around $40m per kilometre, meaning a 145km route between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain would need nearly $6bn in investment.