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Elon Musk's Hyperloop is getting its first working test track

Elon Musk's Hyperloop getting test track - Business Insider

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Think of it as a cross between Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table, he said.

And he wants us to get in that thing?!

Then, soon after setting out his revolutionary vision, Mr Musk made one small, additional admission: With so many other projects on the go, such as putting men on Mars with SpaceX and producing mass market Tesla electric cars, he simply did not have time to work on the Hyperloop.

Instead he threw the idea open to the public, asking entrepreneurs to take his brainchild and turn it into reality.

The result is Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company set up by Mr Ahlborn and his crowd-funded online incubator JumpStartFund.

They have established a network of almost 200 scientists and engineers across the US working to refine and develop the idea.

According to Mr Ahlborn, many have day jobs at Nasa, SpaceX, Airbus, Yahoo! and other cutting edge companies.

In an interview with Wired, he described what passengers might expect at a Hyperloop station. They would hand their luggage to a Kiva robot (of the sort used by Amazon in its warehouses) before being whisked through security on moving walkways and then boarding the passenger capsules.

He believes the team is steadily working through many of the technical challenges. One remaining problem is how to best to build a national network of tubes criss-crossing the US using as many straight lines as possible and reducing the number of potentially nausea-inducing bends.

Okay so actually Elon Musk is not involved in this effort at all?

Elon provided the vision and the blueprint:

His plan is based on a blueprint set out by Mr Musk in what he called a "white paper", describing the idea for a fifth mode of transport - after planes, trains, cars and boats.

"Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome, the only option for super-fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground," wrote Mr Musk in the 57-page document about 18 months ago.

Actually, Musk has a competing effort:

That article says that there are now three different companies working on developing a Hyperloop.

Musk / Ahlborn seem closer to actualizing the project.

But there is still the issue of funding. The company plans a public offering towards the end of the year with the goal of raising $100 million (ᆪ65m).

"I have almost no doubt that once we are finished, once we know how we are going to build and it makes economical sense, that we will get the funds," Mr Ahlborn told Wired, adding that Mr Musk's cost estimate of $6-10 billion for a 400-mile stretch of Hyperloop seemed accurate.

This week he announced plans for the test track after striking a deal with the developers of Quay Valley, in California. It is an experimental community being built from scratch and designed to reduce America's dependence on cars and run entirely on solar power.

It 25,000 homes will be a test bed for new technologies.

Quay Hays, its chief executive, said: "For these reasons, the Hyperloop is the ideal clean community transit system for Quay Valley."

The system will be built alongside the Interstate 5 freeway in central California.

If I recall correctly Musk was reacting to the cost of high speed rail in California.

He believed Hyperloop was cheaper and more cost effective. 

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