A stunning Virgin Hyperloop One pod that could carry passengers at speeds of up to 760mph (1,200 kmh) when it launches in 2020 has been unveiled.
The prototype pod is equipped with luxury adjustable leather seats and built-in touchscreen displays that let passengers personalise their entertainment.
Floor lighting could help travellers to find their way around and there are also personally-controlled lights for reading.
The BMW-designed concept pods give a glimpse of the luxurious conditions inside the futuristic transport vehicles, which could launch in Dubai within the next two years.
Hyperloop’s low-friction design means passengers will be able to travel through 87 miles (140 km) of high-pressure tubes between the city and neighbouring Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes, a journey that takes around 90 minutes by car.
The service is expected to carry around 10,000 passengers per hour in both directions.
Passengers can personalise their entertainment through built-in displays, according to the designs, which were presented at City Walk in Dubai for UAE Innovation Month.
Hyperloop uses an electromagnetic propulsion system to accelerate levitating pods through a vacuum tube.
BMW Designworks – the automaker’s creative consultancy – partnered with Virgin Hyperloop One to create its futuristic vision of the stylish high-speed travel pods.
‘With the Virgin Hyperloop One design, we wanted to create a new visual expression for a new mode of public transportation’, said Designworks LA Studio Design Director, Johannes Lampela.
The company claims it is the first time a physical, full-scale hyperloop prototype has been shown to a public audience.
Dubai’s Road Transport Authority (RTA), which wants 25 per cent of all journeys to be driverless by 2030, unveiled another Virgin hyperloop prototype design at a ceremony in the city in February.
The pods themselves boast deluxe interiors, leather seats and high definition screens for displaying information and entertainment.
Each of these pods is designed to travel short and medium distances and can accommodate up to ten passengers.
Rob Lloyd, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One said at the time: ‘The UAE and RTA were early supporters of our Hyperloop technology, so it is particularly exciting to be unveiling the Dubai Hyperloop pod with the RTA.
‘Our focus in 2018 would be continuing the close collaboration with RTA to progress to the next phase of the project.
‘Our aim would be to explore the viability of a wider UAE Hyperloop network.’
In a written statement, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the RTA, added: ‘When introduced in future, the hyperloop technology will impact the town planning and the availability of parking spaces.
‘It will revolutionise people mobility between various destinations in the city, logistical hubs like airports and ports, and shipping patterns.
‘These pods, the first of their kind worldwide, have been designed to travel over short and medium distances on dedicated lanes.
‘They can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached, depending on the destination of riders, in five seconds.
‘They are fitted with cameras and electro-mechanical technologies to carry out the coupling and detaching processes, and this feature can be activated in-motion.’
Dubai unveiled its first look at what travelling on a Hyperloop will really be like back in November 2016, in a series of concept images for the first commercial use of Elon Musk’s radical transport system.
They showed small levitating Hyperloop pods that hurtle through tunnels at 760 mph (1,220 km/h), and then drive on normal roads to complete journeys to and from luxurious stations.
This differs somewhat from the pods unveiled by Virgin in February 2018, which appear to be specific to the Hyperloop system.
Dubai hosted a competition for designs related to the high-speed system first proposed by Tesla co-founder Elon Musk in 2013.
In 2016, the city announced a deal with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, to study the potential for building a line linking it to the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi within the next five years.
The announcement of the deal took place atop the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, with the panorama view of the skyline of this futuristic city-state serving as both a backdrop and a sign of Dubai’s desire to be the first to rush toward the future.
The system could later be expanded to link the UAE with neighbouring Gulf countries so that a trip between Dubai and Saudi capital Riyadh, which is currently two hours by plane, could be completed in under 50 minutes.
A spokesman from Hyperloop One told MailOnline at the time that the company planned to build the system within five years.
‘Technology is evolving and transforming how we live, yet we lack real innovation in mass transportation and the current system has stagnated,’ said Shervin Pishevar, Executive Chairman of Hyperloop One.
‘Hyperloop One is focused on transport that’s far more efficient, fast and clean. It will change the dynamics of how we move goods and people.
‘Dubai makes perfect sense for Hyperloop One because this is the 21st century’s global transport hub and its leaders understand that Hyperloop One is ushering in the next era of transportation.’
Hyperloop One is working with McKinsey & Co. and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) on a detailed feasibility study.
According to BIG, the design of the scheme is based on a study of ‘how an urban and inter-city transport network should integrate with existing infrastructure.’
They describe it as autonomous, point-to-point and able to vastly simplify the experience of ‘getting from front-door to final destination.’
The locations of the initial route in the UAE have been selected by passenger density and proximity to existing or planned transportation hubs.