Elon Musk's vision of hyperloop, a super-fast transport system, has taken a step closer to reality and now we know what it might look like.
Hyperloop One, one of the companies developing the system, has released pictures of a test track to begin trialing the technology.
A hyperloop system would involve propelling pods through a large tube at up to 750 mph using magnets. It is seen as a way to cut long-distance travel times as well as a way to alleviate congestion in many cities.
Hyperloop One's "DevLoop" is a 500-meter full-scale test structure that weights over a thousand tons. One tube measures 3.3 meters in diameter and the test track has been put together in the Nevada desert.
Hyperloop One is expected to perform a public trial with the new DevLoop in the first half of this year. The company has signed deals with a number of countries to explore the feasibility of setting up the transport system. One of those agreements is with the government in Dubai with the idea of connecting the city to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 12 minutes. This journey would take over 2 hours in a car.
At the Middle East Rail trade show in Dubai this week, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd, shared his vision for connecting a number of major cities in the Gulf region.
"Tying together the Middle East region would produce greater virtual density, without congestion and pollution, spurring innovation, productivity, job growth and more powerful sharing of knowledge, labor and investment," Lloyd told an audience, according to a statement from the company.
Hyperloop One estimates that around 4,000 vehicles travel every day between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with traffic congestion costing the economy $800 million in lost working ours, something it says a hyperloop could fix.
Last year, Hyperloop One carried out a propulsion test in the Nevada desert in which a sled accelerated to 116 miles per hour in 1.1 seconds. It was a proof of concept test of the underlying technology of a hyperloop and the company will be hoping with a full-scale build of the tubes, it can carry out further trials.
Hyperloop One is not the only company developing the vision Musk laid out in a white paper in 2013. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a rival company, is also looking into the feasibility of building a track in countries from Indonesia to the Czech Republic. The firm recently announced plans to set up a research and development center in Toulouse, France, where it hopes to build its own test track.