DUBAI // Dubai is set to be home to the world’s first Hyperloop One transport link, which is expected to begin operations for passengers in 2020.

Ambitious plans for a new multi-billion dollar, hi-tech transport system have been unveiled that would see travel times between Dubai and Abu Dhabi slashed to as little as 12 minutes.

Once operational, passengers will be able to book travel on the magnetically levitated system with a smartphone app that the creators promise will provide a door-to-door service.

“Having signed an agreement with DP World in August to pursue a cargo-based Hyperloop One system at Jebel Ali Port, our focus has now expanded to include connecting the emirates,” said Rob Lloyd, chief executive of Hyperloop One.

“As a central global transport hub, pursuing the implementation of a Hyperloop in the UAE makes sense.

“The leaders of the UAE understand that transportation is the new broadband, with the power to transform life throughout the GCC.

“We are now at a stage where, from a technological point of view, we could have a Hyperloop One system built in the UAE in the next five years.”

He was speaking during the signing of an agreement between the company and Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority on Tuesday at the Burj Khalifa.

The dramatically short travel times are in theory made possible by the 1,200kph speed of the “pods” that travel through a tube using magnetic levitation.

The Los Angeles-based startup is planning to show off a working proof of concept system next year. More info