Kingdom to be an early adopter of revolutionary train service


Saudi Gazette

AS talks on transformation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution continue at the Misk Global Forum, several announcements were made during the two-day event bringing together leading global companies and industry leaders.

Experts and entrepreneurial leaders shared insights on building future cities like the most recently announced Neom project.

Among the announcements made, Saudi Arabia is one of the early adopters in the world to bring in Virgin Hyperloop One to build a revolutionary train service, transporting people around country in a much faster and safer manner.

Hyperloop is one form of advanced technology in transportation where a tube train can travel up to 120 km per hour using less energy. The vehicle is considered autonomous, safe and green.

It can make transportation for citizens much more efficient and easier. For instance, it can take 50 people from Riyadh to the new Al Qidiya city in a six-minute ride, according to Virgin Hyperloop One's co-founder and CTO Josh Giegel.

"Hyperloop can connect all of the Kingdom within an hour," he told Saudi Gazette. "That's revolutionary. Also, this can facilitate Haj and Umrah tourism and pilgrims to visit Makkah in a day. That kind of connection is going to facilitate for Vision 2030 and beyond."

Asked about the infrastructure, he said: "With a lot of new cities appearing in the country, it's an advantage to design a new city from a new that's upgradable in the future and that's digital.”

The Misk Foundation and Virgin Hyperloop One announced a partnership on providing opportunities as well as training for Saudi youth.

The MoU signed includes training university-level curriculums, vocational training and and an internship program.

"As the Kingdom moves into this next phase, I think there's a huge opportunity with such a progressive leadership to not just change the next 30 years but do it in an exciting way and give opportunities to people," Giegel said. "Saudi Arabia's population has a majority of young people and what we're trying to do is not just give Saudi Arabia Hyperloop but build it with local talent, engineers, steel, concrete, business development and so on."

"Virgin Hyperloop One is a truly innovative transportation system that is emblematic of the real world applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the knowledge economy," said Bader Al-Asaker, secretary general of Misk Foundation. "At Misk, we are dedicated to develop Saudi youth into a tech-skilled workforce that is ready to engage with, work with and play its part in developing the emerging innovations and technology of the future in line with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030."

Siemens Limited signed an MoU with Misk Foundation that includes research and development fellowship scheme, skills training, internship program for Saudi youth.

The agreement comprises a research and development fellowship scheme that will send Saudi students to Siemens R&D centers abroad, building capability within the Misk Academy, and an expansion of the current internship scheme five-fold increasing the number of Saudi students.

Al-Asaker said: "By working in partnership with the world's leading technological innovators such as Siemens, we ensure that young Saudis gain the skills needed to become leaders in our rapidly transforming, high-tech economy, which directly contributes to the fundamental goal of this event."

Misk also signed an MoU with Smaat Company to train Saudi students in digital media and marketing in an effort to Saudize the sector.