Hyperloop still feels a little more like science fiction than an actual project, but as new pictures from superfast transportation company Hyperloop One show, the technology is slowly making its way into the real world. The new images give an insight into how construction is progressing on Hyperloop One’s very own hyperloop in the Nevada desert, showing suspended track that could one day carry (possibly screaming) passengers at ridiculous speeds across the United States.
The test track — known as DevLoop — is 500 meters long and 3.3 meters in diameter, giving enough space for Hyperloop One to conduct public trials of its technology in the first half of this year. The track itself can be found some 30 minutes from Las Vegas, out in the kind of desert that hyperloop pods could one day traverse in minutes.
They might not be the most thrilling pictures — their subject is a length of tube, after all — but hyperloop has exciting potential as a fast and efficient transportation method. Elon Musk’s idea has several companies vying to become industry leaders, including the LA-based Hyperloop One, as well as competitor Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Musk himself also seems to be dreaming up potential improvements to the concept, suggesting that he may use advances in boring technologies (meaning tunnels, not the other kind of boring) to dig holes for hyperloops.
Hyperloop One hasn’t had the easiest time in recent months. The company had an acrimonious split between its key players last year, when ousted co-founder Brogan BamBrogan was accused of trying to poach employees and take over the company. The accusations resulted in a lawsuit that was eventually settled in November 2016, theoretically freeing Hyperloop One up to focus on the noble cause of firing passengers through a low-pressure tube at frightening speeds. As today’s images show, it looks like it’s making progress — even if the length of track laid down so far would only take about two seconds for a hyperloop train to traverse.