Elon Musk’s lofty dreams of a futuristic, super-fast mode of travel is getting closer to reality, with the Hyperloop One successfully completing its first full-system test in Nevada, USA.
Hyperloop One, co-founded by venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, is one of the first successful attempts at turning Musk’s advanced, hi-tech concept into a real-world transport system.
The aerodynamic pod is 8.5 metres long, and constructed of structural aluminum and carbon fiber. Using electromagnetic propulsion and mag-lev technology, its designed to carry both cargo and human passengers at near supersonic speeds.
The system, which is still in its very early days, managed to complete a successful trip around the 500 metre long “DevLoop” in Nevada in May, The Verge reports.
However, the Hyperloop One system only managed to reach a top speed of 70 miles per hour (112kmph), which is still a long way off from the ‘conceptual’ speeds of 750mph (1,200kmph) promised by Musk – but it is a start.
According to Pishevar, the next phase of Hyperloop One testing will be to take it up to 250mph (400kmph).
Hyperloop is building what could be a new high-speed mode of transportation. Passengers will sit in pods and travel at 700 miles per hour pic.twitter.com/lkeMGe8ocm
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 12, 2017
Musk first released alpha designs and documentation relating to his vision of the futuristic transport system in August 2013.
He envisioned that the Hyperloop would be able move people from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 600km) in a half hour. This would mean transporting passengers at over 1,200km per hour.
To avoid issues related to high-speed travel (such as friction and air resistance) Musk’s idea is loosely based on pneumatic tubes, where cylindrical containers are propelled through a network of tubes by compressed air or by partial vacuum, and commonly used by banks to transport money.
According to Musk, the system would cost an estimated $6 billion to build and construction would take 7 to 10 years.