One of the companies involved in developing the ultrafast mode of transport known as Hyperloop has announced it has completed a full-scale test track, and is looking at a number of potential routes in the US.
Hyperloop One presented its progress to policymakers and others in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. It said that it had proposals from 11 teams, signed up as part of a competition, to develop Hyperloop routes in the US.
In a statement, Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One, said they will have 500 people working on bringing this technology to life by the end of the year. In a more immediate development, they said they had finished a test track 500 meters (1,640 feet) long near Las Vegas, Nevada, called the DevLoop. This will be used to test various ideas for how best to operate the pods and tube. Previously, they have shown off a demonstration of the pod technology.
The idea for Hyperloop was conceived by SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2012. He proposed building vacuum-sucked tubes and using pods inside to transport people at up to 1,220 kilometers (760 miles) per hour. Since then, several ideas have been put forward as to how to achieve this, with two companies – Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies – being set up independently to make the dream a reality.
The 11 routes proposed by Hyperloop One vary in length from just 103 kilometers (64 miles), connecting Boston and towns in Massachusetts, to 1,854 kilometers (1,152 miles), connecting Colorado and Texas. The latter journey would take just 1 hour and 45 minutes in Hyperloop, compared to 17 hours by car. Combined, the routes would create a web of high-tech transport across the US that would enable high-speed travel like never before.
The proposed routes. Hyperloop One
“Hyperloop One is the only company in the world building an operational commercial Hyperloop system,” said Lloyd in the statement. “This disruptive technology – conceived, developed and built in the US – will move passengers and cargo faster, cleaner and more efficiently. It will transform transportation as we know it and create a more connected world.”
That first statement is up for a bit of debate, considering that other companies – including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and SpaceX – are working on their own Hyperloop ideas.
Nonetheless, this development is a welcome one, and it’s the first time we’ve heard of any concrete plans for the US. And it’s fairly timely, considering Trump supposedly wants to spend $1 trillion on US infrastructure. Previously a variety of proposals for Europe and the Middle East have been put forward, with plans in the US being kept close to the chest.
We’ll wait and see what happens next. But you never know, maybe, just maybe, Hyperloop is going to happen.
Below are some of the proposed routes from Hyperloop One