Superfast public transport for a swift daily commute that makes life easier for residents is evolving as a major feature of smart cities taking shape in different parts of the Middle East. Driverless buses are being tested in the UAE, and routes are being mapped out by AI for avoiding traffic, while the world is looking forward to flying cabs as an option for Dubai in the not so distant future.
But moving beyond quick travel within futuristic cities, the much hyped hyperloop is also being touted as a network which can move passengers between Emirati cities within minutes. Residents of the UAE and later those from other parts of the gulf will commute via pressurised tubes designed to propel pods, which will be on display at Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The vehicle to be unveiled at the FLOW pavilion set up by DP World, is a replica of the wagon created to transport products through the firm’s Cargospeed system. Visitors can take a seat inside the pod, to experience the look and feel of the fast-paced yet comfortable public commute, which will be available to Emiratis soon.
Tested first with passengers almost a year back, the revolutionary public transport system is being developed by Virgin Hyperloop, at the Abu Dhabi innovation hub which is providing resources and tech support. Once these pods zooming inside tubes speed up traveling between Dubai and Abu Dhabi along with other emirates, a network will be set up between major cities in the gulf region.
Other parts of the world are also racing to deploy this service, but entities in Dubai have raised the stakes by funding the process, and allowing the American firm to use UAE’s ecosystem for futuristic projects.
As emerging smart spaces like NEOM are promising car-free cities with an underground commute, existing cities including Dubai and Sharjah are turning to electric scooters as well as hanging sky pods, to tackle traffic.