Las Vegas got a glimpse of the future on Wednesday when the first test of the hyperloop took place in a desert just north of the city. The high-speed transportation system has been in development by various start-ups, university students, and standalone engineers since Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk conceived of it back in 2013.
But Wednesday’s hugely anticipated test came courtesy of the start-up Hyperloop One Inc., who took the lead in the race to bring the propulsion system to the masses when it recently raised $80 million in Series B funding. The company’s plan is to make a fully operational hyperloop system a reality by 2020. “The hyperloop is real. It’s happening now,” said Hyperloop One Inc.’s Chief Executive Rob Lloyd ahead of Wednesday’s demonstration.
If Lloyd’s prediction does become a reality, the hyperloop—which can transport large numbers of people and goods through a network of tubes at speeds up to 700 mph—has the potential to be the most game-changing invention since the internet. For example, a trip via hyperloop from L.A. to San Francisco will clock in at just 35 minutes, which is 25 minutes faster than the hour it takes to fly.
After Wednesday’s successful test, which featured a 10-foot propulsion powered “sled” moving along a track for two seconds at 116 miles an hour, proved that while the technology is there, there’s still a long way to go before the hyperloop can be fully integrated into a city’s infrastructure.
To help speed up the process, Lloyd has teamed up with renowned architects and designers with a plan “to redefine the future of transportation, providing a more immediate, safe, efficient and sustainable high-speed backbone for the movement of people and things.”
Watch footage from today’s test below.
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