You know when you have a good idea for a game or blog and you tell a friend who might actually make it, since you don’t have time? That’s kind of like what Elon Musk did with his ambitious Hyperloop, a next-level transportation system that uses near friction-free tubes to zip capsules containing humans long distances with incredible speed for shorter commutes. And now, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a startup who took up Musk’s offer and has committed to building a real live Hyperloop, has secured the land needed to build a working full-scale demo version (via The Verge), with a target launch date of 2016.
The startup is looking to build a working version on a five-mile section of California’s Quay Valley, which is a model town that was intended to be a 150,000-resident solar-powered city. The project was put on hold in 2008 and rights were disputed during a lengthy period of litigation, but the new Hyperloop system is designed to be a sort of monorail for the renewed project, which is supposed to offer around 25,000 houses and mixed commercial and business buildings in its reborn form.
The constrained track means it won’t get faster than 200 MPH, which is far below the projected 760 MPH top speed of Musk’s original design. But the intent is just to prove viability of the project on a smaller scale, while also going beyond making something that is strictly a tech demo.
Musk plans his own test track for the super-fast commuter train, the billionaire multi-CEO tweeted back in January. His intent with the project is to provide opportunities for third parties looking to test out their own pod designs, meaning he’s still planning on keeping the Hyperloop project at arm’s length, while focusing on SpaceX and Tesla, as well as his role as Chairman of solar power startup SolarCity, which announced a new fund for residential installations today.
HTT’s Hyperloop project seems to be turning more solid every day, but based on this most recent description of the project I can’t help but be reminded of another small-town mass transit system. Still, it would be very, very cool to see this thing become a reality, so I welcome any entrants attempting to make that happen.