Imagine zipping 100 miles--usually a two-hour journey by car--in just twelve minutes.
Hyperloop One, one of the companies looking to create the high-speed rail that Elon Musk outlined in 2013, on Tuesday released a video that shows what it might look like to travel by Hyperloop. The startup also announced in a blog post that it has agreed to a feasibility study with the government of the United Arab Emirates, which would explore the possibility of building a rail that originates in Dubai.
This iteration of the Hyperloop One would travel the 100 miles from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
The hypothetical experience shown in the video below features automation at every turn. A phone app lets passengers order a pickup, after which a self-driving, rectangular pod cruises down the streets and arrives at their location. Once at the docking station, that pod would link with several others, and the entire chain would enter a capsule that serves as the vehicle inside the high-speed tube.
As initially outlined by Musk, the tube would use powerful magnets to levitate the capsule. It would be a near-vacuum, vastly reducing the effects of air friction.
Passengers would travel at around 700 mph--roughly the speed of a commercial jet. The pods would fit six or more people and be customizable, so a particular pod could be set up as a meeting room or lounge. The doors would only open upon the initial pickup and the final arrival.
This isn't Hyperloop One's first feasibility study: It also has agreements in place in Russia, Finland and Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.K., and California.
Musk's original proposal called for a route connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles--350 miles apart--via a rail trip that would take 35 minutes.
The company has raised more than $100 million in funding from firms like GE Ventures and Sherpa Ventures. In May, it completed its first public test run, sending a pod on a several second trip across the Nevada desert at 300 mph. And it recently announced the opening of a factory in North Las Vegas where much of the track will be manufactured.
But the company also has faced its share of challenges. Co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan resigned and filed a lawsuit against the company in July. The suit, which contains images from security footage, alleges that a company exec threatened BamBrogan with a noose after a disagreement.
The Los Angeles-based company isn't the only one making serious moves to build a high-speed rail. Another startup, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, is working on creating its own test track in California. That company hasn't yet publicly demonstrated its tech.
While Musk was the one who initially laid out the Hyperloop concept, he is not directly involved with any of the companies racing to build it. Even so, in January, he's scheduled to host a competition of high school and college students who created designs for Hyperloop pods. Each team will demonstrate its design in a half-scale test run.
Hyperloop One has said it wants to have its "Kitty Hawk moment"--named for the location of the Wright brothers' first flight--sometime in 2017. It ambitiously hopes to complete the California Hyperloop track by 2020.
Check out the company's video of the proposed Dubai rail below.