Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, an independent company working to build the high-speed transportation system first envisioned by Elon Musk, has announced the beginning of construction on a test track in Toulouse, France. The company released a video showing the arrival of the first components of the system, a series of huge tubes.
Those tubes, according to the concept laid out by Musk in 2013, will form a sealed vacuum, through which a passenger pod would be sent at speeds of as much as 700 miles per hour. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, also known as HyperloopTT, says its full-scale passenger capsule is nearing completion.
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Progress towards fulfilling Musk’s vision has been rocky — not entirely surprising given the scale of the challenge. Musk initially said he would not be directly involved in pursuing the idea, but SpaceX later organized student design competitions and built a Hyperloop test track. More recently, Musk and his tunnel-building Boring Company have become even more involved, including gaining a permit for a possible future Hyperloop station in Washington, D.C.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is one of two prominent independent companies pushing the concept forward. The other, Hyperloop One, got off to an early lead, attracting headline talent and becoming part of Richard Branson’s Virgin group. Hyperloop One completed a test track in Nevada in April 2017, even while grappling with major internal conflict.
That means HTT’s test track would be the third to be completed worldwide. Though it’s running behind the competition in some ways, HyperloopTT has remained relevant in part by focusing on development deals outside of the U.S., including in Europe and South Korea.