Futuristic Hyperloop System Starting to Actually Seem Real

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If, within the next decade, we’re not traveling to and from San Francisco at 800 miles per hour through giant elevated tubes, it won’t be because of a lack of effort on the part of the tech industry. Proponents of a futuristic (and as of yet entirely hypothetical) Hyperloop system that would transport commuters between LA and the Bay in under an hour are getting plenty of exciting news this week, as USA Today reports.

One startup working on developing this new technology, Hyperloop Technologies, Inc., is planning a demonstration of a test track in the Nevada Desert Wednesday. Not to be outdone, nearly identically-named rival company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies today announced it has developed a new system of “passive magnetic levitation” that will allow Hyperloop pods to reach speeds up to 760 miles per hour. As The Verge reports, it’s similar to the magnetic systems that propel high speed rail systems in China and Europe. The main difference is that this design doesn’t require tracks to be lined with power sources.

These two startup companies, both based in Los Angeles, are not the only ones working on developing Hyperloop technology. San Francisco company skyTran is working with NASA to develop a similar system which it hopes to develop further with a thirty mile track in Nigeria. Meanwhile, many are wondering about potential future announcements from Elon Musk, who first proposed the idea of a Hyperloop system as an open-source concept he didn’t necessarily have time for. Last year the SpaceX CEO cryptically tweeted about plans to build test tracks for Hyperloop projects, “most likely in Texas.”

Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015

The race to develop the advanced technology is clearly heating up, with proposed finish lines fast approaching. In March, Hyperloop Technologies CEO Rob Lloyd said he hoped to get started on constructing a system in the Southern California area sometime next year, with a construction timeline under ten years. In the meantime, California’s old-fashioned high speed rail project continues to chug right along.

LA to SF in 30 min: the hyperloop wars are on [USA Today]

Hyperloop Transportation says it will use a ‘cheaper, safer’ form of magnetic levitation [The Verge]

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