SAUDI ARABIA

Agreement to conduct feasibility study for ‘center of excellence’ at KAEC

July 27, 2019
The study will examine opportunities for the co-development of specific technologies for hyperloop transportation systems that can be commercialized and scaled, together with the development of local expertise in Saudi Arabia. — Courtesy photo
The study will examine opportunities for the co-development of specific technologies for hyperloop transportation systems that can be commercialized and scaled, together with the development of local expertise in Saudi Arabia. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

LOS ANGELES —
In line with its vision to make Saudi Arabia a globally attractive hub for high-value, long-term investments, the Economic Cities Authority (ECA) has signed a collaboration agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) to conduct a feasibility study to build a world-class hyperloop ‘Center of Excellence’, which includes an extended test and certification hyperloop track, a research and development center and a hyperloop manufacturing facility at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

The announcement took place during a visit to VHO’s Innovation Campus in Los Angeles by a senior ECA delegation, led by Secretary General Mohanud A. Helal.

The study will examine opportunities for the co-development of specific technologies for hyperloop transportation systems that can be commercialized and scaled, together with the development of local expertise in Saudi Arabia.

The study will also assess the potential for establishing localized hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the Kingdom. Additionally, the hyperloop Center of Excellence at KAEC is expected to create 6,000 high-tech localized jobs.

Commenting on the development partnership with VHO, Helal said: “At ECA, we are always on the lookout for strategic partnerships and initiatives to enable our economic cities to contribute to the ambitious goals of Vision 2030, and our agreement with VHO to explore the possibility of developing its new technology at KAEC represents a major step forward in our mission. If materialized, the Center of Excellence will catalyze the development of a domestic hyperloop-enabled transportation sector, which in turn, will accelerate urban development and economic growth, creating job opportunities for the Saudi youth and increasing local content.”

Jay Walder, CEO of VHO, said: “With Vision 2030, the Kingdom has demonstrated bold leadership to advance game-changing solutions. A hyperloop system could help enable Saudi Arabia to become a global transportation powerhouse, nurture the nation’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture, and grow an innovative knowledge workforce.

“I look forward to this collaboration with our visionary partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn this technology into a mass transportation solution,” he added.

Sultan Masoom, ECA’s Director General of Investment Development and Attraction, said: “Closely aligned with Saudi Arabia’s strategy to transform itself into a global economic powerhouse, ECA is keen on attracting quality foreign direct investment to stimulate business at the economic cities.”

During its tour, the ECA delegation visited VHO’s Innovation Campus in Los Angeles, CA, where they witnessed several technological innovations, including Levitation Helicopter, Rotating Levitation System and Coil Winding Machine. At DevLoop, VHO’s full-scale hyperloop test site in the Nevada desert, the team visited the Control Room and Pod Tent and toured the Propulsion Open-Air Test (POAT) facility. VHO’s mass transport system, which is being developed at the company’s Los Angeles headquarters, can transport people and cargo at airline speeds at ground level via the deployment of magnetic levitation and vacuum technologies.

An acknowledged leader in developing a fully functioning hyperloop system, the company has made significant advances in technology development in recent months and anticipates commercial operations will be available for government customers in the near future.

The role of ECA is integral in being a guiding hand for the economic cities and an attentive ear that listens to their needs and requirements to better enable them to achieve their objectives of diversifying the kingdom’s economy and creating quality jobs for young Saudi men and women.


July 27, 2019
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