The Hyperloop Transportation System is becoming close to reality, according to Navigant Research. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors popularized the idea for a hyperloop as a means of transportation in a 57-page white paper, which was published in 2013.
According to Navigant Research, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) reached an agreement with landowners in central California to build the world’s first hyperloop test track.
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The hyperloop test track is a 5-mile stretch near the Interstate 5 highway, between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Musk envisions the hyperloop as a transportation system that is cheaper than California’s proposed high-speed train. The hyperloop will be designed to transport passengers in floating pods inside low-pressure tunes at a speed of more than 750 mph. It would only take 30 minutes to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Hyperloop pilot project expected to launch in 2016
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is not affiliated with Musk or Tesla Motors. The billionaire entrepreneur is planning to build his own 5-mile hyperloop test track in Texas.
Navigant Research expected the launching of the Hyperloop project early in 2016. The pilot project will start at a modest speed of 200 mph to demonstrate proof of the concept and to conduct additional safety testing.
Musk envisions a hyperloop transport system that could operate as fast as 800 mph, which needs 100 miles track.
Hyperloop test track potential cost
The potential cost of the hyperloop 5-mile pilot project is approximately $100 million. Hyperlooop Transporation Technologies aims to obtain most of the funding for the project from an initial public offering (IPO) later this year.
The cost of a 400-mile hyperloop transport station that operates from Los Angeles to San Francisco will be around $8 billion. The amount is significantly cheaper than that $67.8 billion potential cost for the proposed California high-speed train.
Navigant Research noted that the hyperloop technology has the potential to become a low-cost, high-speed transportation system, but it has to overcome major challenges including development costs and safety issues.
“Perhaps the most obvious concern is the nature of the technology itself. Transporting human beings through capsules at nearly 800 mph has yet to be proven a safe venture and efforts to reduce the potentially nauseating effects will need to be worked out,” according to the research firm.