Lonely Planet Writer

Is this the future of travel? First full-scale Hyperloop test track unveiled in Nevada

The first full-scale test track has been unveiled in Nevada for Hyperloop, an innovative system that seeks to drastically change the future of cross-country travel by allowing people to move through tunnels in pods at near supersonic speeds.

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The DevLoop site features a 500-metre long structure that weighs in at over one million kilograms. Image by Hyperloop One

Developed by Hyperloop One, the DevLoop site features a 500-metre long structure that weighs in at over one million kilograms. The project looks set to become the first operational Hyperloop structure in the world, a concept first introduced in 2013 by SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The project aims to use pods that can travel through tunnels in a vacuum environment at speeds of up to 700 miles-per-hour. The invention would make humans capable of seriously speedy travel, estimating that a four-and-a-half-hour flight-time from Melbourne to Sydney could be reduced to 55 minutes if the system was put in place between the two locations.

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Full scale testing is planned for the first half of this year. Image by Hyperloop One

A number of developers have been competing to create feasible technology in the field in recent years, with SpaceX introducing a pod competition welcoming ideas from engineers and university students all around the world. There are currently 35 semi-finalists in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge seeking to harness the idea in a range of interesting and dynamic ways. One such team is the Pacific Hyperloop project, which seeks to create a link between Seattle and Portland in just 15 minutes.

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The project is likely to become the first operational Hyperloop structure in the world. Image by Hyperloop One

The new Hyperloop One site is due to begin full-scale public trials in the first half of this year, with the ultimate aim of creating a link between Dhabi and Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes. A long-term goal of creating a link between the neighbouring Gulf countries before expanding the technology elsewhere in the future has also been outlined. More information on the Hyperloop One project is available at the website.

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