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Hyperloop One getting serious about Dubai-Abu Dhabi route

A trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi may take just 12 minutes.

Hyperloop One, which is trying to develop its super-high-speed tube transportation project, is touting a route between Dubai and Abu Dhabi that would ferry customers between the two UAE cities in as little as 12 minutes. To put that into perspective, the 100-mile drive usually takes about two hours. Yes, Hyperloop One has always thought big. And fast.

Hyperloop One on Tuesday outlined its plans with Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA) as well as the feasibility study it's conducting with McKinsey & Co. and the Bjarke Ingels Group. For potential passengers, that means autonomous transportation, and "conceptual" interiors and exteriors for Hyperloop One passenger stations.

The company is following up on its plans to use the high-speed tubes to transport cargo at Dubai's Port Jebel Ali. Part of the network would be under water, while part of it would be suspended above the ground. The system involves levitating pods being shot through tubes at as fast as 750 miles per hour. That's about twice as fast as Japan's fastest maglev high-speed train.

The good news is that Hyperloop One says it has raised more than $160 million, and that it would have a trial system ready to go at its Nevada site as soon as next year. The company also said Tuesday that it may have "multiple" Hyperloop systems within five years.

The less-rosy development is that Hyperloop One co-founder Brogan BamBrogan left the company this past summer, and is involved in a lawsuit against co-founder and executive chairman Shervin Pishevar, who has accused BamBrogan of trying to sabotage Hyperloop One by forming a competing company.

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