Our dreams of being shuttled around in vacuum tubes are coming yet another step closer to fruition. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has received the first sets of tubes needed to build its test track in Toulouse, France. The tubes measure 4 meters (about 13 feet) in diameter, and the entire system is purported to be “optimized both for passenger capsules and shipping containers.” As part of the first phase of the test track, HyperloopTT will build a 320 meter (1,050 feet) system that is slated to begin operations sometime in 2018. Another full-scale system that is elevated to a height of about 5.8 meters (19 feet) should be completed by 2019.
Both of these systems are planned to be “fully upgradable,” and will be leveraged by HyperloopTT and its partner companies. The passenger capsule, which will be used to actually shuttle individuals from Point A to Point B, is “near completion” at a facility in Spain, and should be delivered for assembly and integration sometime this summer.
“Five years ago, we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems — efficiency, comfort and speed. Today, we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal,” said HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn. “Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”
HyperloopTT has been hard at work since 2013 on its goal of delivering one of these next-generation transportation systems. The Los Angeles-headquartered company maintains presences across the world, with its team of 800 individuals spread out across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Slovakia, France, Brazil, and Spain. Thus far, the company has agreements to begin test tracks in the United States, Slovakia, Abu Dhabi, the Czech Republic, France, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Korea.
“Building in full-scale means we’re committed to innovation in the long term,” said Bibop Gresta, HyperloopTT chairman. “We’ve pioneered the technology, proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE. We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations. We have a research center for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule. Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.”
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