Videos: The 760 MPH Hyperloop Just Ran Its First Public Tests
On Wednesday, Hyperloop One conducted the first public test of its proposed propulsion system for the dreamy transportation concept Elon Musk believes could one day whisk passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 35 minutes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While today's test only examines the proposed system's propulsion, it's tantalizing insofar as it signals there's some real momentum behind the the Hyperloop that might be strong enough to push the idea into reality.
Musk originally floated the idea for a Hyperloop back in 2013. The technology, basically, consists of shooting people in pods on rails through an evacuated tube running the length of California. Because there is little to no air resistance inside the tube, the pods can hypothetically reach a speed of 760 miles per hour. Musk publicly states that he thinks a functional hyperloop can develop a "fully operational" transportation system between Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2020. We'll view that incredibly near date as a bunch of tech-boosterism for now. But we'll also take the fact that Musk's project hasn't already died and actually has some real-world testing behind it as reason to think that the man behind Paypal and Tesla might be on to something.
Today's test lasted barely two seconds. The engines will fired briefly, accelerating a small carriage along a track to 116 miles per hour before its arrested by a bar of sand, according to The Verge.
L.A.'s own Hyperloop One (previously known as Hyperloop Technologies) is one of several companies currently working to make Musk's dream a reality. Hyperloop One's fellow startup and chief competitor—the somewhat confusingly named Hyperloop Transportation Technologies—has yet to offer any public demonstrations of its technology. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is also based in L.A.
While it's easy to naysay such an audacious project, the fact that there is progress is certainly encouraging. While Hyperloop One states that we shouldn't get too excited just yet, they also say they should be able to test an operational prototype, passenger pod and all, by the end of 2016, according to NPR.