Tech Transformers

You could travel on hyperloop by 2018

Elon Musk's hyperloop begins testing
Elon Musk's hyperloop begins testing

You could be traveling at just under the speed of sound in three years via the hyperloop , the transportation brainchild of Tesla boss Elon Musk, according to one company developing the transportation method.

Hyperloop works by transporting a number of passengers in capsules that would be propelled by magnets at a speed of 750 mph – and could take you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.

The technology took a step closer to reality after Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) filed for construction permits in Quay Valley, California for a five mile track.

"We are announcing the filing of the first building permit to Kings County to the building of the first full-scale hyperloop, not a test track," Bibop Gresta, the chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said during an interview at the CNBC/TradeShift technology event at Davos on Thursday.

"In 36 months we will have the first passenger in the first full-scale hyperloop," he added.

A rendering of a Hyperloop by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
Source: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

This track will not be going from one city to another however. It will be within Quay Valley. The company is now looking at where it will place its pylons and doing soil tests. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of this year and the service will open in 2018 to the public.

Gresta said that a full-scale city to city hyperloop could be a reality within five years, but said it will most likely not be in the U.S.

HTT has an interesting crowdsourcing business model. The project has over 10,000 people who have day jobs at places which include NASA and SpaceX. They all contribute ideas to the project in their free time in return for stock options in the company.

But HTT is not the only company working on a hyperloop. Currently rival Hyperloop Tech is trialing its own version of the technology and hopes to have a 2 mile test track in action by the fourth quarter of this year.

Gresta said that while HTT's track is small, the potential of this technology around transport will be "disruptive".

"Imagine what you can do when you can move the goods at this speed. You can transport organs between cities without the problems we have now," Gresta said.