CNNMoney has video of the first Hyperloop test track being constructed in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Hyperloop Technologies Inc., one of the two startups working to bring the supersonic form of travel into reality, gave the network access to the site where it is building a 3-mile test track, which the company says will be completed by the end of 2016.
So far, that only amounts to a bunch of tubes in the desert, but Hyperloop Technologies CEO Rob Lloyd described the unassuming scene as his company's "Kitty Hawk" moment, referring the North Carolina town where the Wright brothers flew the world's first airplane.
"The idea, when we think about moving at these speeds and this kind of transformational technology, is a big idea, and the thing we find most people ask is, ‘Show me,'" Lloyd said. "We actually have the whole company riveted behind achieving our own Kitty Hawk moment."
There's a lot of hype — and a lot of skepticism — surrounding Hyperloop right now. In addition to Hyperloop Technologies, a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technology is attempting to build its own test system using crowdfunding and volunteer labor. And Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who popularized the idea of the Hyperloop by posting his white paper as an open-source challenge, is sponsoring a design competition among high school and college students later this month.
"The thing we find most people ask is, ‘Show me.'"
Lloyd said that while the concept sounds futuristic — pods of travelers careening through frictionless tubes at speeds approaching 760 mph — the science behind it is actually quite simple.
"You just remove the pressure from inside an enclosed environment," he told CNNMoney. "You can think of that as a tube. You remove the friction of wheels by levitating that pod inside the tube. Then it takes a very little amount of energy to move that pod at incredible speeds."
The Verge at CES 2016