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Images: First photos of Hyperloop test track built in Nevada desert

Los Angeles-based company Hyperloop One on Wednesday released the first images of its Nevada test track. Hyperloop One showed off the test site, the Nevada Desert Development Site (DevLoop) at a conference in Dubai. The company says it now has 500 meters of track complete for testing, and expects its first public trials on the track in the first half of this year. 

“While technology is revolutionising many facets of our lives, we have not seen a radical change in transportation since the Wright brothers introduced air travel over 100 years ago,” explained Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One.

“Tying together the Middle East region would produce greater virtual density, without congestion and pollution, spurring innovation, productivity, job growth and more powerful sharing of knowledge, labour and investment.

“Building a Hyperloop would vastly impact the economy and make any major city in the Gulf Cooperation Council accessible within one hour.”

Hyperloop One hope to perform a public trial later this year, with the aim of creating “a faster, more efficient and cleaner system of mobility” featuring Hyperloop pods travelling at 800 miles per hour.

Josh Giegel, co-founder of Hyperloop One, added: “Our team of more than 150 engineers, technicians and fabricators have been transforming what was, just over five months ago, a barren stretch of desert, into a hive of activity and now home to the world's first full-scale Hyperloop test site.”

Hyperloop One has been making the rounds of wealthy, Middle Eastern nations and investors, and has been pitching its technology as a way to quickly connect Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain.

According to the company, benefits of Hyperloop include higher standards of safety than a passenger jet, close to half the construction and lower maintenance costs than high-speed rail and energy usage that is similar to a bicycle per kilogram-kilometer. 

Hyperloop One estimates that around 4,000 vehicles travel every day between Abu Dhabi & Dubai, with traffic congestion in Dubai costing the economy $800 million in lost working hours. Reducing this commute to 12 minutes opens a whole new realm of options, and Hyperloop One shows an investment in a UAE Hyperloop network could unlock economic value 3.5 to 4 times over high speed rail.