The partnership agreement also includes the construction of a research and development centre and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.
The deal was announced during a visit from a delegation of Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA), led by secretary-general Mohanud Helal.
The study will focus on King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), 100km north of Jeddah. The project includes a 35km test and certification track, creating opportunities for the development of hyperloop technologies in Saudi Arabia that could be commercialised and scaled up.
“Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia,” said Mohanud Helal. “Having hyperloop at King Abdullah Economic City is going to act as a catalyst for a Saudi Silicon Valley effect and galvanise our software development, high technology research, and manufacturing industries,” he added.
Virgin Hyperloop One chief executive Jay Walder said: “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.”
Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology uses depressurised tubes to carry on-demand passenger or cargo “pods” at speeds up to 1080 km/h (670mph). It would cut the current 10-hour journey time from Riyadh to Jeddah to just 76 minutes.