Hyperloop One’s plans for an ultrafast transportation system, capable of speeds of up to 760 mph, have moved off the drawing board and into the Nevada desert.
The tech company this week posted images of its first full-scale test track that could one day form the basis of the final design that sends regular folks hurtling between cities through low-pressure tubes just a few meters off the ground.
Hyperloop One’s test track, called DevLoop, is 500 meters long and 3.3 meters in diameter. While a photo of a long tube may be hard to get excited about, the work at least gives fans hope that the ambitious project is moving forward and now approaching a crucial stage of development.
The company says it aims to perform a public trial using the tube in the next four months.
“Our team of more than 150 engineers, technicians and fabricators have been transforming what was, just over five months ago, a barren stretch of desert, into a hive of activity and now home to the world’s first full-scale hyperloop test site,” Josh Giegel, Hyperloop One co-founder and president of engineering, said at a recent event touting the project.
“We have come so far in such a short space of time, and our team of over 240 employees are working tirelessly to eliminate the barriers of distance and time and reinvent transportation.”
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One showed off its proposed propulsion technology for the superfast transportation system at a special event last summer, sending a sled zooming along an open-air track in front of a crowd of invited journalists. You can check out DT’s experience of the event here.
While many nations have expressed an interest in the hyperloop technology, Dubai in the UAE seems especially keen and has already had talks with Hyperloop One about building what could become the first operational system. The company has already signed an agreement with DP World — the third-largest port and terminals operator in the world — aimed at constructing a hyperloop track for Dubai’s enormous Jebel Ali port, using it to transport freight from the port to destinations inland. It’s hoped the system could be up and running within the next four years.
Hyperloop One is competing with another U.S. firm, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, to build the first fully functioning system. And don’t forget Brogan BamBrogan. He co-founded Hyperloop One in 2014 — or Hyperloop Technologies as it was called then — before leaving under a cloud last year. The flamboyant BamBrogan recently launched his own rival project, with at least 80 engineers expected to be working on competing technology by the end of 2017.
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