It’ll be years until Elon Musk’s Hyperloop vision is realized, but one startup could build a five mile track as early as next year. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a crowdsourced team of geniuses, says it will build the real thing along a five-mile plot of land in Quay Valley, which sits at about the halfway point along Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company expects to put upwards of $100 million into the project, which it’s hoping to raise later this year.
Musk’s original vision for Hyperloop is to connect the 400-mile stretch between San Francisco and Los Angeles, so HTT’s project will obviously fall well short of that. But this isn’t some proof of concept, or just some fancy scale model, the company said.
“It’s not a test track,” HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn told Wired.
HTT’s main goal in building the track is to investigate the more practical elements of the Hyperloop design, like boarding procedures and pod design. Eventually the company hopes to build a longer track, which will give HTT an idea of whether or not Hyperloop is even feasible. If so, the technology could potentially travel at up to 800 mph, which would shuttle people back and forth between the two major California cities in just half an hour; driving takes about eight hours, while flying clocks in at around 60 minutes.
Last month, Elon Musk said he plans on building his own Hyperloop test track in Texas, so it seems there is a kind of space race to see who can test the technology out first. The different between HTT and Musk, however, is that the Tesla-owning billionaire has seemingly unlimited funds, and, well, he actually created the technology to begin with. HTT is comprised of about 200 engineers who spend their free time contributing to the project, so there’s definitely plenty of brain power surrounding the project.
Getting the project up and running by next year is insanely ambitious, but the pieces are lining up. With proper funding, and Quay Valley as the track’s site, HTT just might make it happen. For now, we’ll consider this to be more fantasy than reality.