Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to build China’s first hyperloop system
The Chinese state of Guizhou will house the country’s first hyperloop system after an agreement was made between the city of Tongren and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
It is the company’s third commercial deployment following agreements made in Abu Dhabi and Ukraine earlier this year.
In Tongren, a 10km stretch will be built and if successful could lead to a lucrative wider rollout. This has been seen as a significant win for Hyperloop TT over its immediate rival Hyperloop One, backed by Elon Musk and Virgin.
- 10km commercial Hyperloop line coming to Abu Dhabi by 2020
- HyperloopTT begins building world's first full scale hyperloop system
- Virgin to construction Hyperloop train in India
Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, commented: “We envision that Hyperloop will play into a bigger role of the Silk Road Economic Belt, connecting the region to the rest of the world.
“China spends over $300 billion annually on infrastructure to address their rapidly growing urban populations. Having worked alongside our government partners, Hyperloop has proven a viable solution for this immediate problem.
“Additionally, the unique topography of Tongren will allow us to refine our various construction methods with our partners.”
China is already a world leader in terms of the amount invested in the likes of high speed rail.
Over the past five years, the country has invested more than $100bn in transport, leading to the construction of 69 highway projects and 3,500-plus miles of road.
Guizhou's infrastructure boom has enabled the region to see immediate financial benefits, as its imports and exports for 2017 alone were worth more than $8.7bn.
Mayor of Tongren Chen Shaorong added: “After the completion of the project, it will greatly accelerate the research and development of China's hyperloop system, rapidly enhance the development of high-tech industry and equipment manufacturing industry in Guizhou Province, effectively improve the popularity of Tongren city and the development of tourism industry, and laying solid foundation for Tongren 'one district and five places' development.”
Buildots secures US$30mn in Series B Funding
Buildots, an AI construction firm developing artificial intelligence systems for the construction industry, has announced it has secured US$30mn in a Series B funding round to expand its operations. The round was backed by Lightspeed Ventures with participation from TLV Partners, Future Energy Ventures, and Tidhar Construction Group, Buildots’ former investors.
The company secured US$16mn in funding in 2020, and its AI computer vision systems are now being used in projects across 12 countries including the US, UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Hong Kong.
The role of the construction industry in digital transformation
Discussing the industry’s involvement in digital transformation, Roy Danon, co-founder and CEO of Buildots, said: “When it comes to digital transformation, construction has been a sleeping giant and Covid-19 served as an accelerator for the industry.“We are now working with construction companies in over a dozen countries and what we’re seeing is that the challenges Buildots is addressing are ubiquitous around the world.
“A global expansion at the rate we’ve experienced would have ordinarily been impossible in an industry like construction that has its roots in handshake deals and in-person relationships without the new Covid reality of remote meetings and even deal signings,” he added.
Tal Morgenstern, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, believes the sector can make a difference to GDP but is struggling to make a statement in the technology industry. “Construction is a massive market with real GDP impact but it is still underserved by technology,” Morgenstern said.
However, Morgenstern points out that change is possible, adding: “We believe Buildots is the company that will change that reality. The rapid adoption Buildots has seen to date is driven exclusively by word of mouth. Following that success, this financing round will support an aggressive growth plan going forward.”
Buildots’ systems and AI algorithms work by validating images captured by 360-degree cameras mounted to hardhats. This allows the algorithms to detect any gaps between design, scheduling, the final product on the construction site.