Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to test a tech demo train in 2017

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), aka the Hyperloop company not currently embroiled in executive drama, announced today that it’s going to help build a train. Not a Hyperloop, mind you, but a conventional rail-based train – with a few tech twists.

HTT’s upcoming project is bankrolled by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, which is the largest railway company in Europe, so that at least suggests some confidence in HTT’s ability to deliver. The unconventional Hyperloop startup was born out of a crowdsourcing platform, and uses crowdsourced workers to run, and thus far most of its work seems to have been on building hype rather than building things, so some skepticism around its output is only natural.

But this train project is much more down to earth, and HTT’s role will mostly be to apply some of its halo technologies into a conventional train, as opposed to creating anything related to Hyperloop tech, which uses very low atmosphere sealed tubes to propel passenger capsules at extremely high speeds.

Augmented reality will instead be a key component, with one goal being the creation of interactive on-window panels that detect passengers and interact with them, offering up real-time info including news, current time, weather and route info. HTT’s concept video below shows what this might look like in use.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK8ForBuixc]

For HTT, the project acts as a proof-of-concept for its business model, monetization strategy and short-term viability, while it looks to build an actual Hyperloop transit system in the more distant future. The collaboration with Deutsche Bahn is expected to bear fruit much more quickly – HTT claims we’ll see the new train start to carry passengers in early 2017.