If there is one place in this world to see high-tech, world-class transportation first hand, it would be the UAE. The Middle East kingdom is the first country to get autonomous flying transportation (and “flying” bike, if we may add) and now, it might very well become the first to realize the next modern marvel pitched by Elon Musk, the Hyperloop. Virgin Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop One) has teamed up with BMW’s Designworks and Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) to develop a prototype design for Dubai Hyperloop Passenger Capsule.
The design, which recently made its global debut at UAE Innovation Month’s City Walk Dubai, marks the first time a physical, full-scale hyperloop prototype has been shown to the public. When materialized, this electromagnetically propelled mass transportation will rocket through a vacuumed tube, reaching speeds of up to a mind-blowing 1,080 km/h (around 671 miles an hour). That’s nearly Mach 1 at 30,000 feet – a speed which passenger jets of today don’t even make.
Already, Virgin Hyperloop One is in talks with RTA on Phase 2 of Dubai Hyperloop in a race to realize the world’s first hyperloop transportation system in UAE. Hyperloop, while stupid fast, is not without trade off and the most obvious (caveat) would be the lack of windows. Negating the windows is a design necessity due to the extreme pressure that will be on the capsule.
With this in mind, Designworks is faced with a challenge on how to create a comfortable and welcoming interior that will not only let passengers not feel claustrophobic, but also feel personal and the journey, memorable and enjoyable. Granted, the journey between Dubai and Abu Dhabi will probably be over in a jiffy – or around 12 minutes, to be precise. Here’s Designworks’ proposition:
“The design concept suggested several ways of achieving this, through multi directional and personally-controlled light, digital displays, and premium comfort – creating a sense of individualized space for each passenger. In first class, for example, adjustable leather seats feature touchscreens for personal settings for light brightness and color, allowing passengers to shift the light from blue to pink to set the mood. The seats include integrated heating and cooling. Passengers could enjoy personalized entertainment through built-in displays. In this way, the concept could create a more sophisticated and user-centered spatial experience that transcends the typical utilitarian notion of public transportation. Floor lighting is also aesthetically used to double as wayfinding.
To further enrich the passenger experience, designers took inspiration from traditional Arabic patterns, taking care to create intentional and relatable cultural references while also applying a more futuristic and progressive interpretation. The design is thus anchored in the cultural legacy of the kingdom while acknowledging its contemporary achievements and aspirations.”
And here’s another look at the concept design pitched:
Looking at the concept design, the interior is no doubt high-tech and cosy, but I wouldn’t say it will not induce panic for claustrophobic folks. If flying in a tin can makes you uneasy, I don’t think this will be any better. Just saying… It is wonder how windows can make a difference to a space.