Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s vision of the futuristic Hyperloop transportation system is moving into real-world testing.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a research company established by a network of engineers and scientists to explore Musk’s idea, will be constructing a full-scale version of the project in 2016.
An 8km test track will be constructed between LA and San Francisco, the company said, while it will be investigating a possible public offering to raise $100 million in funding for further development of the system, according to Business Insider.
Musk first released alpha designs and documentation relating to his vision of the futuristic transport system in August 2013.
At the time, the SA-born businessman said he simply did not have time to pursue the project himself, and called upon entrepreneurs to take the idea and run with it.
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.
In his alpha-plan, Musk described the system as a cross between a Concorde, rail gun and air-hockey table.
According to Musk, the system would cost an estimated $6 billion to build and construction would take 7 to 10 years.
You can find and download the Hyperloop alpha design here (PDF).