DP World is investing $50 million to move Hyperloop One closer to its goal of building a futuristic transportation system by 2020.
The Los Angeles-based company, Hyperloop One, announced it has raised additional financing led by DP World Group of Dubai, the third-largest port operator in the world. The investment brings the company’s total funding to $160 million since its launch in 2014.
Hyperloop technology uses electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger or cargo vehicle through a tube in a low-pressure environment. The autonomous vehicle levitates slightly above the track and glides at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances. The company claims the transportation system will eliminate direct emissions, noise, delay, weather concerns and pilot error.
A full-scale test of a Hyperloop system is planned for the first quarter of 2017. DP World’s funding of the company’s first ‘real-life’ Hyperloop will mean the first system will be operational in Dubai. “It’s great to have an investor that is also potentially a customer,” Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One, said to Tech Crunch.
DP World and Hyperloop One signed a deal to conduct a feasibility study of building a Hyperloop for Port Jebel Ali in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to a report in the Business Insider.
“By eliminating the barriers of time and distance, we believe we can increase the volume of freight DP World moves through the port using a Hyperloop to a new inland depot, which supports more revenue and profit for all stakeholders,” Lloyd said in a press statement.
DP World also believes that using a Hyperloop system under the sea to transport its cargo is feasible as it could free up some space on the land, according to the Business Insider.
Similar feasibility studies have also been conducted in Australia, Finland, Russia, and the US ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The Australian newspaper also reported that Hyperloop One has invested in developing a new high-speed rail network in Australia. The potential testing route from Melbourne to Sydney would reduce transit times to just 55 minutes from the current 11 hours by rail.
Although the technology is still in an experimental stage, Alan James, the company’s vice-president for worldwide business development, is optimistic about the progress.
“This is not a ‘10 years away story’, this is not a ‘five years away story’, and literally months from now the world will be able to touch, smell and see an operational Hyperloop,” James said to The Australian.
In other news, Hyperloop One appointed Brent Callinicos, the former Uber CFO, as a full-time strategic adviser for the company to help guide its financing. This has been considered a signal that the company is moving away from the recent dispute among its founders.