Hyperloop TT plans to build working line in the UAE next year

April 18, 2018 by  
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It’s been a busy week for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT): they began building a test track in France , and now they’ve just announced the signing of an agreement with Aldar Properties , a Abu Dhabi real estate developer, for what HyperloopTT described as “the first commercial Hyperloop system in the UAE .” Hyperloop plans to start construction next year, with the first section open by 2020. ? Aldar Properties and HyperloopTT signed a memorandum of understanding for a commercial Hyperloop system, including a Hyperloop Visitor Center and HyperloopTT’s XO Square Innovation Center. This agreement will allow the California-based company to start building an around six-mile Hyperloop system. The site is near the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai , near the Al Maktoum International Airport and the location for Expo 2020 . In fact, HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said with regulatory support, they aim to have the first Hyperloop section operational in time for the expo. Related: HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France Aldar Properties CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi said in the statement, “We believe that Hyperloop technology can have a major positive impact on the lives of all those living within our communities, and we look forward to this possibility becoming a reality.” HyperloopTT said they would build the Hyperloop system in several phases, and although this agreement covers a six-mile system, they ultimately aim to construct a commercial network throughout the UAE. They said they’ve been working in the country since 2016, and have finished a comprehensive feasibility study, working with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transportation. HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn said, “With this historic agreement in Abu Dhabi, we take a big step towards the world’s first commercial system.” This isn’t the first time cities in the United Arab Emirates have shown an interest in Hyperloop technology; in 2016, Hyperloop One (now Virgin Hyperloop One ) signed an agreement with Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority to evaluate a Hyperloop system in the area. Earlier this year, Virgin Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority unveiled a commuter pod prototype . + Hyperloop Transportation Technologies + Aldar Properties Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

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The GCC’s first commercial vertical farm launches in Dubai

March 6, 2018 by  
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Cultivating crops in Dubai’s harsh climate isn’t easy — but indoor vertical farms could offer a solution. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s first such facility, Badia Farms , recently launched in the glitzy emirate . The energy efficient farm system uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming , a real boon for the water-scarce region. Food imports travel around 3,000 miles on average to make it to restaurant plates in Dubai, according to the Emirates News Agency . Badia Farms could offer produce with a vastly reduced carbon footprint with their indoor hydroponic farm . Microgreens, lettuces, and herbs flourish with no sunlight, soil, or pesticides required. The greens grow in coconut husks instead, and according to The National , the produce is even safer because many potential food-borne diseases stem from dirt. Badia Farms is the very first commercial vertical farm in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar. Related: The “most technologically-sophisticated commercial indoor farm in the world” will grow 30X more produce Badia Farms gets their name from the Arabic word for ‘oasis,’ according to their website. They described Dubai as “one of the world’s most dynamic yet agriculturally challenged cities” and said they’re the first company to provide greens to restaurants the same day they were harvested. Founder and CEO Omar Al Jundi said, “We set up Badia Farms in the UAE with a vision to provide a sustainable solution for food and to reduce the region’s reliance on imports. Growing crops in the region has always been a challenge due to the hostile climate, and that is where Badia Farms offers a viable solution…This is our way to give back to the UAE and start the new wave of farming in Dubai.” The Emirates News Agency said the indoor farm commenced production in December 2017. + Badia Farms Via The National and Emirates News Agency Images via Dubai Media Office Twitter

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300 artificial islands in Dubai, ‘The World,’ may get another chance

February 16, 2018 by  
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The World , an archipelago of 300 islands in Dubai , has sat largely vacant for around 10 years. But construction is underway once again. The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright reported , “After a decade in limbo, The World is back – with more ambitious plans than ever before.” The World was dreamed up in 2003, with Nakheel as the master developer, and 320 million cubic meters of sand and 25 million metric tons of rock were put into place, according to The Guardian. Workers laid the last rock in the breakwater in January 2008. The development sprawls across over 5,000 hectares and stands, in the words of Wainwright, as a “mind-boggling monument to the spectacular hubris of a moment in time when anything seemed possible.” Related: Dubai’s World of Islands is Sinking Into the Sea But construction is beginning again. Josef Kleindienst, of real estate company Kleindienst , talked to The Guardian about his plans for The Heart of Europe , saying he wants to make it snow there throughout the entire year. The Kleindienst website describes The Heart of Europe as “a first of its kind, breathtaking hospitality development, spanning six of the islands on The World in Dubai, with each island taking inspiration from some of Europe’s most captivating locations.” Swiss chalets, Austrian castles, and Russian palaces are among the plans. Kleindienst told The Guardian the development will be finished in time for Expo 2020 in Dubai. Other island owners seem to have been inspired by Kleindienst, according to The Guardian. Emirati developer Seven Tides aims to finish a 100-villa resort on one of the 10 islands they own in the South America portion by the end of this year. And actress Lindsay Lohan said she’s designing an island in The World. It remains to be seen whether or not the projects will ultimately come to life. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 ) and The Heart of Europe

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300 artificial islands in Dubai, ‘The World,’ may get another chance

Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility

February 1, 2018 by  
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Dubai plans to deal with their garbage in a bold new way: with the largest waste-to-energy plant in the world. Gulf News and New Atlas reported the government announced plans for a facility that will handle as much as two million tons of solid waste yearly. That’s around 60 percent of the trash Dubai produces in a year. With a 185 megawatt (MW) capacity, the plant will generate power for around 120,000 homes. Dubai’s launching an ambitious effort to turn junk into energy . The waste-to-energy plant will treat around 5,000 metric tons every single day, and will generate as much power as 2,000 skyscrapers as big as the Burj Khalifa could consume – roughly two percent of Dubai’s annual electricity consumption, according to the Government of Dubai Media Office . Related: World’s largest waste-to-energy plant in China will be topped with green roofs and photovoltaics Dubai will raise the waste-to-energy plant on five acres of land, and will partner with Switzerland-based waste-to-energy technology company Hitachi Zosen Inova and Belgian construction company BESIX on the project. HV 132kV cables will connect the plant to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s grid. DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer told Gulf News, “This will be a new source of [power] supply for Dubai. This will improve security of supply.” Construction will commence in a few months, according to Dubai Municipality director general Hussain Nasser Lootah, and the plant should be operating before World Expo 2020 . There is another waste-to-energy plant in progress vying for the title of world’s largest planned for Shenzhen , China; Inhabitat covered its green design here . Both could be finished in 2020. New Atlas reported the Shenzhen plant is still on track to claim the prize, but if the Dubai project reaches its goals, it could snag the title, with an output around 20 MW greater than the Shenzhen plant. Via New Atlas and Government of Dubai Media Office via Gulf News Images via BESIX

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‘Worlds Largest Picture Frame’ opens in Dubai

January 4, 2018 by  
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The city of Dubai is home to some of the most innovative architecture in the world, but its latest skyscraper is certainly one of the most “picturesque” we’ve ever seen. The  Dubai Frame , otherwise known as the “World’s Largest Picture Frame”, is a 150-meter-high rectangular structure whose unique shape frames stunning views of the city’s growing skyline, including the iconic Burj Khalifa . It is the latest design to take its place among the city’s prestigious architectural portfolio, but the project has been mired in controversy from the start, with one architect saying the city stole his design. Opening today Dubaï Frame #dubaiframe #uae #gold #lights #bridge #architecture #monument #monumentoftheday #arts #tower #towerbridge #theplacetobe #picoftheday #dubaiskyscrapers #new #dubaifrenchie #surreal #surrealpicture #surrealism #exclusiveshot #quotidien #incredible #incrediblearchitecture #impressive #dubai #uae #instaday #2018 #thebest A post shared by @ linvraisemblableordinaire on Jan 2, 2018 at 5:10am PST The Dubai Frame is located in the city’s beloved Zabeel Park, and at a staggering height of nearly 500-feet (150 meters), provides visitors with stellar panoramic views of the skyline from its 300-foot (93-meter)-long viewing bridge. The unique  skyscraper is expected to attract nearly 2 million tourists annually, and with an entry fee of 50 dirhams (approx. $14.00), will definitely bring some income to the city. Related: Dubai’s craziest tower yet is the world’s largest picture frame Dubai Frame | The New thing of Dubai @dubailifestyle #dubailifestyle #dubai #dubaiframe #dubailife Photo @khaled_a_hassan_1 A post shared by Dubai (@dubailifestyle) on Dec 10, 2017 at 3:46am PST Inside the golden framed-building, visitors are led to the glass-floored walkway where they can enjoy views of the old city of Deira to the north and the towering buildings lined along the famed Sheikh Zayed Road to the south. On the ground floor museum, visitors will have the chance to take in an innovative augmented reality display that follows Dubai’s transformation from a remote fishing village to a bustling metropolis. However, the story of the city will most likely gloss over the controversial beginnings of the Dubai Frame design itself. In 2008, the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp Elevators hosted an international design competition searching for the city’s next amazing skyscraper. Architect Fernando Donis’s  design was chosen as the winner of the competition. However, when it came time to collaborate on the construction of the project, the architect and the city failed to agree on contractual terms. Nonetheless, the city went on with the project, breaking ground in 2014, which resulted in Donis filing an Intellectual Property claim against the city for copyright infringement. + Fernando Donis Via Archdaily Images via Donis Architecture and The Dubai Frame

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Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

January 4, 2018 by  
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China lost control of their first space station Tiangong-1 in 2016 – and now pieces of it could come crashing back down to Earth. Research organization Aerospace Corporation recently predicted the station could re-enter our planet’s atmosphere sometime around the middle of March. Around 2,000 to 8,000 pounds of the almost 19,000-pound station could hit the surface. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, was the first station China built and launched. They sent it to space in 2011, and two manned missions to the station were completed. Tiangong-1 wasn’t supposed to last much past 2013, but China decided to lengthen its lifespan. Then they lost control in 2016. The station’s orbit has been gradually degrading, so its re-entry will ultimately be uncontrolled, according to The Verge . Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space All this may sound like really bad news. And it’s true that thousands of pounds of Tiangong-1 could make it back to Earth. But multiple space agencies have been tracking the station, and think it may crash down between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitude – a region largely covered in ocean. Most of the land in that area is also unpopulated. In the Aerospace Corporation’s map shown above, there’s a zero probability of trash re-entry in blue areas; green areas have lower probability and yellow areas have a higher probability. But the organization said, “When considering the worse-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.” This also won’t be the first time an object as big as Tiangong-1 – or even larger – has made an uncontrolled re-entry. Phobos-Grunt, an almost 30,000-pound Russian spacecraft intended for a trip to Mars failed and plummeted to Earth in 2012. And NASA’s almost 160,000-pound Skylab, their old space station, also made an uncontrolled re-entry, according to The Verge. Humanity has been launching rockets for around 50 years – and a single person is known to have perhaps been struck by space trash in all that time. In 1997, Lottie Williams was taking a walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma when metal fragment hit her shoulder , and according to Wired, NASA confirmed the time and place were consistent with the re-entry of a second-stage Delta rocket – although the shard wasn’t ever positively identified, and Williams wasn’t injured. Via The Verge , Business Insider , and Aerospace Corporation Images via CMSE via Phys.org , Aerospace Corporation , and copyright ESA – D. Ducros

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Oiio Oto transportation pods that climb buildings – the solution to LA traffic?

December 21, 2017 by  
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Oiio’s ingenous Oto pods are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The bubble-like cabins sit on a swappable wheelbase that can follow roads or climb up buildings to help people get around Los Angeles . The see-through autonomous pods could someday be part of the solution to addressing the city’s notorious congestion and air pollution.   The idea behind the pod is that traditional cars take up too many resources for transporting one or two people. Unless your car is packed full, you are driving around with a trunk, excess engine capacity and rear seats that you don’t need. The Oto pod is bare bones transportation that eliminates the waste. The concept was conceived for the Automobility Designer/Developer Challenge at the LA Auto Show this year. The challenge asks designers to create concepts for the future of transportation. Each Oto pod is broken down into three components: a cabin, wheel base and shuttle. An individual could own the cabin, but the wheel base and shuttle would be shared and are interchangeable. The pods could affix to a track system that runs along roads or up walls. Related: Petal-shaped stations and rapid transport pods are an elegant green mobility solution for Dubai “It is possible that, in the future, LA people would be able to own only the cabin and, through AI centrally controlled circulation, they could create a temporary assembly-unit, an ephemeral design, which would serve their ‘exact’ needs on demand,” said Oiio. + Oiio Via Dezeen

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Uber and NASA team up to launch flying taxis by 2020

November 8, 2017 by  
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Although Uber has suffered some setbacks recently in Europe, having recently been banned from London’s streets , it seems to be clear skies in the United States for the ride-hailing/future self-driving car company. In a speech at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Jeff Holden, head of product at Uber, announced that the company has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to design and enact an air traffic control system for its prospective flying taxi fleet as part of its Uber Elevate service. Uber hopes to get its taxis airborne by 2020, with three cities – Dallas-Fort Worth, Dubai, and now Los Angeles – serving as test sites. With its agreement to develop software with NASA, Uber has taken one step closer towards take-off. In a video shown at Uber’s NASA collaboration announcement, the public is offered a look into how Uber Elevate would function. Just as it is for its earthbound service, users would hail a cab using the app. After booking a flight , users would head towards a designated port, shown on top of a tall building in the video, where they would board their taxi. The video demonstrates the flying taxi’s traffic dodging ability by showing riders soaring over gridlock and highways-turned-parking-lots. The company claims that the flying taxi service could turn an hour and a half drive from LAX to the Staples Center in Los Angeles into a half hour pleasure cruise. “Closer than you think” is the tagline that concludes the video, hinting that the long-promised future featuring flying cars may finally be arriving. Related: Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year Uber’s flying taxis, and those of other companies hoping to get into the game, are known as vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) craft. By design, they are easier to land and take off because of their ability to hover in place. Uber is partnering with five companies, Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer, Mooney and Bell Helicopter, to procure its vehicles, all of which will be electric . Uber is similarly partnering with ChargePoint to enable its vehicles to quickly recharge at vehicleports. Perhaps most ambitiously, Uber intends for its Elevate service to be priced similar to its UberX service. With credible collaborators in tow and a globally established brand, the sky seems to be the limit for Uber . Via Engadget Images via Uber

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Building integrated solar panels from Dubai produce clean energy and color

October 31, 2017 by  
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The United States could obtain 40 percent of its energy solely from rooftop solar (with sufficient political will). But what if solar panels could also boost architectural aesthetics? Dubai -based Emirates Insolaire hoped to do just that with their Kromatix technology, providing an alternative to the blue or black panels that adorn many roofs. Plus, their solar products aren’t limited to rooftops — they can also be integrated in balconies or facades. Emirates Insolaire, a joint venture of Dubai Investments PJSC and SwissINSO , is changing our vision of solar with their Kromatix technology, developed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology . Emirates Insolaire offers Kromatix solar glass in gold, green, or terracotta, with an opaque finish that hides the power-generating technology inside. Solar transmittance varies among colors, but Emirates Insolaire said it is always greater than 85 percent. They also offer Kromatix modules manufactured with their solar glass that have an average efficiency of above 15 percent. Related: Discreet new SolarSkin panels completely blend in with their environment The company doesn’t use pigments to color their solar glass, but rather “a complex nano-scale multilayer deposition by plasma process,” and say the color will remain stable as time passes. According to Emirates Insolaire’s website, “The colored appearance results from the reflection of a narrow spectral band in the visible part of the solar spectrum. The rest of the solar radiation is transmitted to the solar panel to be converted into energy .” The thickness of the solar glass is between 3.2 and eight millimeters. SwissINSO says the Kromatix colored solar panels can be integrated on facades and rooftops of all sorts of structures, from private homes to high-rise buildings. Electrek also reported the Kromatix products are affordable; they estimated a 5.5 kilowatt solar system would cost between $1,300 and $1,500 per home. They said not counting tax credits or incentives, the system would cover the cost of coloring in a little over one and a half years. Emirates Insolaire’s products have been installed across Europe, including at this school in Copenhagen . + Emirates Insolaire Via Electrek Images via Emirates Insolaire

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Building integrated solar panels from Dubai produce clean energy and color

Uber deploys 50 Tesla electric vehicles to Dubai

October 9, 2017 by  
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Under the UberONE service, which utilizes only electric vehicles, Uber will add 50 new Tesla electric cars to its ride-sharing fleet in Dubai. “We are tremendously excited to be the exclusive ride-hailing partner for this fleet of premium electric vehicles in Dubai, in partnership with Dubai Taxi Corporation, and for the clean vehicle technology to deliver our driver-partners and riders with more efficient, less-polluting mobility,” said Chris Free, General Manager for Uber UAE. “We will continue to work hand in hand with Dubai Taxi Corporation to bring innovative infrastructural solutions to Dubai and grow the city’s smart mobility ecosystem.” This expansion announcement by Uber builds upon Tesla’s entrance into the United Arab Emirates market earlier this year, in which it signed a deal to provide 200 Model S/X self-driving vehicles to the Dubai Taxi Corporation. Uber’s electric moves in Dubai are only its latest in a global campaign to encourage greater use of electric vehicles by its drivers. In London , Uber, which is currently not authorized to work in the city, announced a program to shift its 40,000 London-based drivers to using electric cars. In Oregon, a similar program empowers Uber EV drivers as electric ambassadors who educate their passengers about electric vehicles. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona In addition to its reinforcement of ride-hailing fleets, Tesla has recently begun customer deliveries of its Model X and Model S vehicles in Dubai. The wealthy emirate features prominently in Tesla’s regional strategy and for that reason, the company has invested in charging infrastructure in Dubai as well. Dubai itself has taken several important moves towards a more sustainable society, including a massive solar power park which will contain the world’s tallest solar tower , and a plan to build 500km of bike lakes . As for its taxi services, Uber will have competition; the first flying taxis have officially started testing in Dubai. Via Electrek Images via Tesla, Elliott Brown/Flickr ,  Brandon/Flickr , and Michiel2005/Flickr

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