Hyperloop Transportation Technologies says it will begin testing its futuristic tube transport in 2016

It's time to get excited

Zachary Davies Boren
Friday 21 August 2015 21:11
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Credit: Hyperloop Transporation Technologies
Credit: Hyperloop Transporation Technologies

Hyperloop was dreamed up two years ago by future tech guru Elon Musk, who has since outlined plans to test the supersonic tube transport system in 2016.

And now he's not alone. There's another company - Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) - which is making a go of his scarcely believable idea. It also plans to test the technology in 2016.

HTT, a collaborative and crowsourced company, has an enormous team of 400 experts who are getting paid in stock options. These 'team members' spend their days at Nasa, Boeing and SpaceX and their free time on Hyperloop.

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How does Hyperloop work?

The basic idea of Hyperloop is people travelling in pods that zip around in tubes. Musk says it's a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table. HTT is going down the vacuum technology route.

It's a renewable energy powered, super-fast bullet-train that's kind of like the suction tubes in Futurama.

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And Dirk Ahlborn, the company's founder, has just announced two major partnerships that suggest the whole Hyperloop thing might actually happen.

One is with Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, which has worked the large hadron collider at CERN, the other with Aecom, the Fortune 500 engineering firm that's currently building the Crossrail tunnel under London.

Carl Brockmeyer, Oerlikon’s head of business development, told Wired magazine: "I don’t think the construction hurdles are significant compared to other technologies that are already out there.

"From a technical point of view, it’s not a challenge. We are used to much higher and harsher applications."

Credit: Hyperloop Transporation Technologies

So what are its plans? HTT says it will build a five mile-long test track in Quay Valley, an eco-city in-the-making between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The project will theoretically powered by all the wind turbines and solar panels Ahlborn is building in Quay Valley.

And the track will test pods at a maximum speed of 200mph instead the 760mph envisioned by Musk.

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