Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a research company committed to building the revolutionary Hyperloop transit system, inspired by Elon Musk’s idea of making people travel in high-speed tubes, has secured a target launch date of 2016 to build a working full-scale demo version of the Hyperloop.
It has signed a deal to build a five mile facility in New Central, California, which is a model town that was envisioned to be a 150,000-resident solar-powered city. The Hyperloop facility will be developed by a local developer Qway Hays of Los Angeles along the Interstate 5 in Kings County, and is expected to begin construction in 2016. The scheme is going to cost a $100 million and will be up and running by 2019. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies expects to raise the figure through a direct public offering in the third quarter of 2014.
The Hyperloop, laid out by Elon Musk, billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, in a 57-page paper in August 2014, is a high-speed transportation network of above-ground tubes that span across hundreds of miles. It can transport people in small capsules at near supersonic speeds, thanks to low air pressure inside the tubes.
Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015
Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop said that it isn’t a test track. It is a 400-mile short stretch of tubes that Musk envisages transporting people between northern and southern California in less than 30 minutes. General public can buy a ticket, hop in and won’t see anything approaching 800 mph.
In order to reach anywhere close to 800 mph, equals getting at least a stretch of a 100 miles track. A 400-mile stretch is a good start, but it also means that the Hyperloop won’t get any faster than 200mph, which is far below than the top speed mentioned in Musk’s original design.
Although, as of now, the main intent of the startup is to prove the viability of the Hyperloop project, while at the same time developing something that can be called more than a tech demo.
The first hyperloop prototype will test and tinker around practical elements such as, a station set up, boarding procedures and pod designs, along with a longer track that allows higher speeds as well as testing freight shipping.
The designs were crowdsourced from a group of 200 engineers from all over the U.S. in exchange for stock option. Some of those engineers have day jobs at companies like Boeing, Yahoo!, NASA and Airbus. Those engineers and a group of 25 UCLA students attending graduate architecture program are working on a set of issues, including capsule design, cost analysis and route planning.
The partnership with Quay Valley makes it convenient for both, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Quay Hays. Hays has been trying to build a community for nearly a decade. The Hyperloop fits perfectly to his vision to creating a non-polluting public transit system.
Musk tweets his own plans to build a test track for a high-speed commuter train. The project aims to provide opportunities for third parties that are looking to test designs of their pods.
Based on the most recent developments to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies project, it can be said that the dream of developing a high-speed transportation system is turning solid day by day. It’s going to be fun to see this turn into a reality by 2025.