In 2003, Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, revealed the details of a revolutionary transportation system that’s anticipated to change the future of travel. The Hyperloop, designed like an above-ground bullet train, could potentially transport passengers across the United States at supersonic speeds up to 800 mph.
Now, if everything continues as planned, the first Hyperloop test track could be built as early as 2016, on five miles of land in California’s Quay Valley. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc., the crowd-funded company behind the realization of the project, is currently attempting to raise the $100 million needed to fund the development of the technology.
“This installation will allow us to demonstrate all systems on a full scale and immediately begin generating revenues for our shareholders through actual operations,” states Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies in a statement to The Verge.
Ultimately, Musk anticipates that the 40o-mile supersonic transport tube would be able to zip people from northern and southern California in half an hour at near supersonic speeds. The test track, however, will likely only reach around 200 mph.
This first prototype will specifically test the practical elements of the Hyperloop – features like station setup, boarding procedures, and pod design.
“…speed is not really what we want to test here,”Ahlborn states, as the five mile test track is not nearly long enough for the bullet train to reach its optimum speed. Getting up to that mark requires about 100 miles of track.
At the moment, designs are being put together by a team of nearly 200 engineers, who are currently employed at corporations such as NASA, Airbus and Boeing. Within this team, is a group of 25 students at UCLA’s graduate architecture program, who are working on a wide array of issues, including route planning.
If successful, the Hyperloop can drastically alter the future of travel, allowing people to commute quicker and much more efficiently. A similar tube system, for example, is used by some hospitals to transport important documents or medications. New York City also utilized such a network to deliver mail during the first half of the 20th century.
Photo Courtesy of Gizmag