They’re building a tube in the desert.
After some delays, lots of controversy and maybe a little concern about the longevity of the enterprise, HyperLoop One, the next-gen transportation company, is building a full-scale test track (test tube?) in the Nevada desert.
Unveiled at Dubai’s Middle East Rail Conference, the images and video show 50 meters of white 3.3 meter-in-diameter metal tubing connected end-to-end. Hyperloop One calls the test track DevLoop.
When the DevLoop is completed, it will form a loop in the desert, roughly 30 miles outside of Las Vegas, where HyperLoop One hopes to conduct its first full-scale test of what would be the World’s first hyperloop transportation system.
That system was first envisioned by SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2013. It’s a ground-based transportation technology that uses vacuum-sealed tubes, maglev, frictionless propulsion technology and sealed pods inside the tubes that cruse along at just-below the speed of sound. When completed, such a transportation system could cut hours-long travel between cities down to minutes.
Hyperloop One hopes to conduct its first DevLoop run in the first half of 2017. However, the first Hyperloop One system probably won’t be in the U.S. The company signed an agreement late last year with Dubai and the United Arab Emirates to conduct a feasibility study. In January, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd told Mashable that it’s feasible that Dubai will get the first Hyperloop.
Comments Lloyd made at the Middle East Conference, according to a release provided by the company, seem to support that possibility:
“Tying together the Middle East region would produce greater virtual density, without congestion and pollution, spurring innovation, productivity, job growth and more powerful sharing of knowledge, labor and investment. Building a Hyperloop would vastly impact the economy and make any major city in the GCC accessible within one hour.”
Even as it finally makes progress, Hyperloop One faces increasing competition from Hyperloop Technologies and even a startup from their former co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan. Still, Hyperloop One is the only company to successfully demonstrate any portion of a hyperloop system and this DevLoop build out in the Nevada dessert represents a significant leap forward. Soon, all the hyperloops out there may be playing catch-up.