Travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes, instead of the six-hour drive with the kid in the minivan?
It’s not a Disney dream. It is actually possible.
That’s the promise from several companies, including Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One Inc., (formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies), which chose Nevada to test out Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s dream to have a hyperloop transport commuters to and from Northern and Southern California at 760 mph. Yes, 760 mph. The speed of sound.
To compare, airplanes travel at speeds of 500 mph, trains travel at 200 mph and cars, depending on how fast you want to get to Disneyland, between 60 and 80 mph. To be precise, the trip might actually take 36 minutes.
Hyperloop One revealed its uber-speedy technology at its first test run in a Las Vegas desert on Wednesday, giving viewers a taste of what the pod looked like traveling with the aid of permanent magnets. The crowd cheered as the pod zipped by, dust flying in its wake. But CNBC said the motor traveled at just a measly 300 mph for about five seconds.
The Wall Street Journal noted the company hopes to have a fully operational system by 2020. The Journal also noted that building this hyperloop would cost at least $6 billion - a number that is not dampening the spirits of its creators.
"This is not science fiction, " Shervin Pishevar, Hyperloop One co-founder told NBC News an interview. "It's a very real solution. It's gone from an idea to a reality."
The hyperloop system involves building a full-length tube, like a 10-foot long sled, between locations within which a "transport pod" carrying passengers or cargo is levitated by magnets and accelerated through a controlled environment. The system is intended to be carbon-free and powered by renewable energy. Hyperloop One says the pods are smaller than planes and designed to leave every 10 seconds.
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Hyperloop One is just one of several companies looking to make this transportation miracle a reality.
The other main rival, similarly named and also in LA, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, touted its own prototype on Monday. It's "levitation system" is based off of work developed by the late Richard Post in 2000, who worked for Lawrence Livermore National Labs in Livermore, California.
The two companies are locked in a fierce competition to be the first to execute Musk's vision. Musk, whose runs Tesla from Fremont, Calif., set up the challenge in 2013.