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Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Transportation System Will be Operating by 2020

March 8
7:13 AM 2016

Elon Musk's idea of a high-tech, speed-of-sound transportation system, called Hyperloop, is now closer to reality than ever. Especially after Elon Musk open-sourced his vision and some teams have been working together to help develop the project ever since.

Co-founder and chairman of Hyperloop Technologies Shervin Pishevar told the CNBC that the futuristic transportation network will be operational, somewhere in the world, by 2020. "We will move people and cargo at 700 miles per hour. That changes the way the global economy works," he added. Hyperloop Technologies aims to shuttle passengers and cargo at near supersonic speeds. Passengers will travel in small pods, smaller than most planes and trains, that will be deployed every 10 seconds.

Hyperloop Technologies is now building a short test track at an industrial park in North Las Vegas. The test will aim to accelerate a test vehicle from 0-335 mph in two seconds. As for the full-scale project, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, as a completely separate startup plans to build its project this year in the planned community of Quay Valley, California, as reported by Inc. The track will be the first Hyperloop facility to carry passengers, even though the track will only be five miles long in total. 

Elon Musk and SpaceX also sponsored a competition to build the best pod for the transportation system. A number of selected teams will be invited to test their pods this summer at SpaceX headquarters. One of the winning team is an online think tank formed on the social media site Reddit, named rLoop. The team consists more than 140 members from 14 countries. According to Forbes, among that membership is engineers from NASA, CERN, Tesla, GE, Honeywell, and other top technology companies who volunteer to create the transportation system design. rLoop caught special attention also because it's the only non-university team to make the final cut.

If indeed the Hyperloop technology is ready to operate by 2020, the transportation system will be available before the California's bullet train project, which is set to be delayed to 2025. The rail project will connect Los Angeles-to San Fransisco, but is currently being challenged by the complexity of geological conditions and the limited state budget. Hyperloop, on the other hand, doesn't have the land rights to build a track connecting the two major population centers.

Some are skeptical about Hyperloop's optimism to be ready to operate by 2020. As for now, the company is pushing forward to develop and test various aspects of the technology, helped by crowdsourced teams around the world. 

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