Elon Musk’s hyperloop idea is closer to becoming a reality.
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Despite the uproar over the embattled billionaire’s settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his tweet last month that he is taking Tesla private, his dream of revolutionizing public transportation in finally taking off -- by other parties.
This week, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) unveiled its first full-scale passenger capsule, offering the world a glimpse at what the future of travel may look like.
The capsule, which is 105 feet long and weighs 5 tons, was unveiled in Cadiz, Spain, on Tuesday.
The tube-like transportation system, billed as “an airplane without wings,” is designed to transport people through low-pressure steel tubes at a speed of 620 miles per hour, which roughly matches a typical passenger aircraft.
Named the Quintero One, the new system is made almost entirely out of composite material and will be moved to Toulouse, France, for additional assembly before it’s tested, the company said.
Hyperloop’s technology gained popularity in 2013, after Musk first introduced his vision for a futuristic mode of tube-based transportation. While he said he didn’t have any plans to execute the idea because he remained focused on SpaceX and Tesla, his idea prompted several companies to join the race in creating a high-speed transportation system.
JumpStarter Inc. eventually created HTT, a Culver City-based California company, to develop the hyperloop.
Musk’s hyperloop company, Boring Company, recently received “verbal government approval” to build a hyperloop capable of ferrying passengers between New York and Washington, D.C., in 29 minutes.
The newly unveiled hyperloop capsule. (Hyperloop TT)
And while HTT is based in the U.S., it is currently focused on developing routes in countries such as China, UAE, Spain and France. However, the Los Angeles area is emerging as a hyperloop center with other competitors such as Arrivo and Virgin Hyperloop One also having their bases there.
"In just five years we have solved and improved upon all of the technology needed for Hyperloop with our new levitation system, vacuum pumps, batteries, and smart composites," HTT’s CEO Dirk Ahlborn said in a statement. "This capsule will be a part of one of the most efficient transportation systems ever made."