Saudi Arabia could benefit from a $4b increase in GDP and create more than 124,000 high-tech local jobs in robotics and AI by 2030 if the Virgin Hyperloop One Centre of Excellence project is approved.
According to a study conducted by Virgin Hyperloop One and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City, the VHO project is expected to significantly support a number of the economic and social pillars of the country’s 2030 Vision, including the expansion of transportation, the development of urban infrastructure and the growth of a technology-enabled modern economy.
The study provided analysis on the economic impact of the project and wider VHO development in the Kingdom, focusing specifically on the growth of hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the Kingdom.
Hyperloop vehicles, called pods, accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube and the pod floats above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.
The project could break ground in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in 2020 and include an integrated test track, as well as explore the feasibility of creating a manufacturing centre and operating facility that will propel the Kingdom to the forefront of hyperloop development worldwide.
Can attract $5b of non-oil exports
In the long-term, KAEC will be able to supply hyperloop components for domestic and global projects and attract $5b of non-oil exports.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, said in a statement that the study highlights that hyperloop is more than high-speed connectivity for passengers and cargo.
“The findings have shown a positive alignment between the project and Saudi Arabia’s ambitious national economic and social development agenda. With this in mind, we are delighted to highlight this vision at the Future Investment Initiative and continue our talks with a multitude of stakeholders,” he said.
Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, said that the strategic partnership in Saudi Arabia is a result of a shared ambition to harness the power of technology to drive the next leap forward in transportation. Moreover, he said that Saudi Arabia is a market that has shown a readiness to embrace transformative innovation to achieve the goal of sustainable, energy-efficient travel that will have a huge impact on the economy and wider society.
King Abdullah Economic City is fast establishing itself as the strategic location of choice for companies seeking to expand into Saudi Arabia and the wider region and has already attracted more than 118 leading local and international companies.