While the Hyperloop concept has yet to begin any commercial operations, two companies have emerged as the two most likely to achieve that dream: Virgin Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HyperloopTT).
However, the latter has remained silent for the best part of a year, until now, when it announced it is building its first full-scale passenger and freight tubes as part of a test track at its R&D facility in Toulouse, France.
With an interior diameter of 4 metres, the first phase of the test track includes a 320 metre system that it expects to be operational within a year, while a second full-scale system of 1km pylons at a height of 5.8 metres will be completed in 2019.
Testing is expected to get underway in the summer, HyperloopTT said, when the full-scale passenger capsule is expected to be completed in its site at Carbures, Spain.
“Five years ago we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems; efficiency, comfort and speed. Today we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal,” said HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn.
“Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”
The company’s decision to focus its efforts in Europe comes after it failed to obtain permission to build a track in California after state government said it did not adhere to its environmental review process.
Competition heats up
The company added that it currently has agreements in place with nine countries and has plans for a public unveiling of the test track in the coming months.
When completed, the HyperloopTT track will become the third Hyperloop track in the world, following on from the one built by SpaceX and its rivals, Virgin Hyperloop One.
Since its takeover by Richard Branson’s company in late 2017, Virgin Hyperloop One has received substantial financial backing and recently attempted to woo the interest of the Saudi Arabian government with a demonstration at its own test track.
In a video released earlier this month, the company’s full-scale Vision 2030 Hyperloop Pod was fired down its stretch of test track, with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz seemingly impressed.
Meanwhile, the Irish Éirloop team remains hopeful of travelling to the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition in a few months’ time having received support from companies including RS Ireland.
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