Hyperloop One, making a big bet on Russia, has set its sights on building a new Silk Road to transport cargo at ultra high speeds between China and the Mediterranean Sea.
The company has signed a deal with the Russian transportation infrastructure developer Summa Group.
Their first project: exploring Hyperloop routes in Moscow that could be integrated into the city's transportation system.
"Our longer-term vision is to work with Russia to implement a transformative new Silk Road: a cargo Hyperloop that whisks freight containers from China to Europe in a day," said Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One.
The deal between Hyperloop One and Moscow is the latest in a number of agreements the company has signed with governments in Europe and the Middle East. All call for the exploration of possible Hyperloop routes.
This deal comes just two months after Hyperloop One held a demonstration of the Hyperloop test sled outside of Las Vegas.
The company expects the first full scale Hyperloop test in the fourth quarter of this year.
Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One, is setting an aggressive schedule for building the first Hyperloop. "I believe the first freight will be moving in Hyperloop by 2019 and the first passengers by 2021. That is the time frame we are on, not at all consistent with today's traditional infrastructure projects, but there is nothing traditional about Hyperloop," he said.
What remains to be seen is how quickly the Hyperloop can actually be developed and then built. The costs will be billions of dollars depending on the length and location of the first runs.
Could Hyperloop One re-create the Silk Road that was used to transport goods thousands of miles between China and the Mediterranean centuries ago?
The size, cost and time that would be required are enormous.
It may be the goal of Hyperloop One, but for now it will start by trying to develop routes in and around Moscow.
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