Virgin Hyperloop One has entered into a development partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Economic City Authority (ECA). The deal will see the firms collaborate on a study to build what is billed as the world’s longest test and certification hyperloop track, in addition to a R&D centre and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.

According to a statement from Virgin Hyperloop One, the project is expected to include a 35km test and certification track. The project is expected to create opportunities for the development of specific hyperloop technologies and develop local expertise in Saudi Arabia, which will be commercialised and scaled. The study will also enable the development of localised hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the kingdom.

The deal was announced during a visit by a senior ECA delegation to Virgin Hyperloop One’s Los Angeles headquarters. The delegation was led by ECA secretary-general Mohanud Helal.

“Our partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One is a matter of pride for us and all of Saudi Arabia. As we continue to help deliver the strategic pillars of Vision 2030, technology transfer and high-tech job creation opportunities that this relationship will bring are fundamental to our progress as a nation and our efforts to create opportunities for our bright young people,” said Helal.

While the study is underway, the Prince Mohammad bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship will collaborate on the creation and publication of an academic paper outlining the economic impact of a Hyperloop Center of Excellence in KAEC, the statement said.

“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,” Helal added.

The statement also said that experts from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will visit the Virgin Hyperloop One testing facility in Nevada to conduct a technical review, followed by the publication of an academic paper.

Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder remarked, “With Vision 2030, the Kingdom has demonstrated bold leadership to advance game-changing solutions. 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. I look forward to this collaboration with our visionary partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn this technology into a mass transportation solution.”