California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is poised to begin laying the groundwork for the Hyperloop, a futuristic steel tube transportation system that would shuttle passengers at speeds of 1,200 kilometers per hour (almost 750 mph). “So at the beginning of 2016, we will break ground on Quay Valley," a proposed renewable-energy-fueled city in King's County, California, said Dirk Ahlborn, the company's CEO. "It’s an 8-kilometer track."
A pioneering work that could change the face of public transportation — and the stuff of dreams and science fiction — the Hyperloop system was introduced by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Ahlborn, who has taken the idea and run with it, said the system would be safe, cheap and environmentally friendly. "It’s 100 percent solar-powered — that’s basically the invention here,” he said. And, best of all, it’ll be fast. “We’re not going to get up to 760 miles an hour, but we believe we can actually break the records that are existing right now,” Ahlborn said.
This means that the four-hour drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, for example, could someday take only 30 minutes by Hyperloop.
The system involves a series of capsules that hover inside a long tube, so they do not need to travel along tracks. It has been designed to run above or below ground.
“Inside the tube you create a low-pressure environment very similar to an airplane that’s at high altitudes," Ahlborn said. "So now the capsule traveling inside the tubes doesn’t encounter as much resistance, and therefore can travel really fast with very little energy.”
Ahlborn will use the short track in Quay Valley to work out the best way to handle passenger traffic and capsule maintenance, all while securing the estimated $6 billion to $10 billion needed to build at a larger scale.
If Ahlborn and his company succeed in making this dream a reality, we may one day see these lighting-fast Hyperloop pods zip through tubes all around the world.