Instead of simply saying Hyperloop will be the future of transportation, Elon Musk plans on backing up those claims. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO on Thursday said he will build a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods, likely in Texas. Nothing has been set in stone, so it’s unclear when we’ll see the project come to life. But it’s important that Musk, who originally announced Hyperloop in 2013, actually gets involved in developing the technology.
When the system was first detailed, Musk revealed that Hyperloop would work by transporting people and vehicles through aluminum pods enclosed in steel tubes. Here’s how we explained it when it was announced:
For a better visual, Musk said the design would look almost like shotgun barrels, running parallel (though separated by about 50 to 100 yards) and enclosed at the end, thus the loop name.
The pods themselves would be mounted on skis made of inconel, a trusted alloy used by SpaceX capable of withstanding high pressure and heat.
If Musk’s Hyperloop dream comes to life, the pods could potentially travel up to 800 miles per hour (or faster depending on how long the system would be). The ideal situation would be to link high-traffic areas about 1,000 miles apart; a link between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a popular example, though that’s only a few hundred miles apart, and California is already hard at work building a high-speed rail system.
Physicists have said Hyperloop is definitely possible from a “technological standpoint,” and Musk wants to prove it with a new test facility. Beyond simple testing purposes, Musk also wants to have some fun with it, saying he’s thinking of having an annual student Hyperloop pod racer competition. Now that I’d love to see.