The super high-speed rail system, the Hyperloop, just an idea in the mind of Musk two years ago, is moving closer towards reality. A team of 100 engineers from places like Nasa and Boeing formed Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and promised to turn Musk’s idea into reality.
The first commercial agreement to build a working hyperloop was announced today between Hyperloop Transportation Technologies of EL Segundo, Calif. and Quay Valley, a 12-square-mile ecotopia planned along a desolate strip of grassland on Interstate 550 miles north of Bakersfield, Calif.
The hyperloop is a transporation concept pitched in 2013 by industrailist Elon Musk, in which passenger or cargo capsule through tubes at speeds of up to 750 miles an hour. Distant cities could become metro stops. Cargo culd zip under the ocean from China to the U.S overnight.
The deal calls for chighonstruction to start next year. The trains won’t reach 800 mph (many more miles of track are required to reach that speed), but that would give a chance to see whether or not the technology actually works in a public setting. The project will cost $100 million, raised through an expected initial public offering of HTT later this year.
Musk has since announced plans to build a Hyperloop test track in Texas. His intent with the project is to provide opportunities for third parties looking to test out their own pod designs, meaning he is still planning on keeping the Hyperloop project at arm’s length, while focusing on SpaceX and Tesla, as well as his role as Chairman of Solar power startup SolarCity, which announced a new fund for residential installations today.
Previously Quartz was sceptical of HTT’s ability to secure land for the project (among other difficulties), but the partnership with Quay Valley—a private settlement— sidesteps that obstacle for now. It remains to be seen whether HTT can navigate political and economic channels to develop the project on a larger scale.
It’s a small step toward realizing Musk’s dream. But we’re still a long way from a massive system of interconnected above – ground tubes transporting Americans across the continent.