The era of Futurama-like tube transportation looks like it’s finally on its way, with construction of a test track beginning next month. Hyperloop Technologies announced on Monday that it will start building a test track at the Apex Industrial Park in the City of North Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you’ve never heard of the Hyperloop before, it’s basically superfast tube transportation system. Using tunnels that have all the air sucked out them, pods slip up and down the tubes at high speeds. The company hopes the pods will eventually be able to accelerate to over 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) per hour. The system boasts a particularly eco-friendly design, using only electricity from renewable sources.
The idea was originally envisioned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2013. However, he allowed it to be taken up by entrepreneurs to be developed. Two separate companies have picked up the baton since then – Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. This latest project is from the former, but confusingly, that’s not the same company that is building the proposed track in California.
Armed with an estimated $80 million (£53 million) fund, the plan for Las Vegas is to build an open-air prototype of the track. The track will be just 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) long and the pods will be able to accelerate from 0 to 540 kilometers (335 miles) per hour in 2 seconds. The company is aiming to have the test track up and running between late 2016 and early 2017.
The end goal is going to be even more exciting. Currently, the company hopes to have a fully operational and commercial available Hyperloop open by 2020.
"This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality," said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies, said in statement.