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Pod-based hyper-speed travel reached a new milestone this week after the completion of the first full-scale test of Elon Musk’s envisioned Hyperloop in the desert of Nevada.
The 500-meter tube allowed a dedicated team to transport a levitated pod at high speeds in vacuum conditions. The magnetic levitation used to suspend the pods in mid-air is of the same variety employed in high-speed trains in Japan.
"The XP-1 performed as designed, handling high speeds and levitating in a vacuum tube depressurised to the equivalent of flying at 200,000 feet above sea level," said Hyperloop One co-founders Josh Giegel and Shervin Pishevar.
"Seeing a 28.5-foot-long and 8.9-foot-tall vehicle propel at high speeds down that track brings the vision of the Hyperloop much closer to reality."
The technology represents “the future of public transportation,” the two explained.
Musk originally unveiled the idea in 2013, but later open-sourced the technology to allow other companies to pursue the concept. Hyperloop One is one of the many companies competing to make tube travel a reality.
Dezeen reports that Hyperloop One is developing a tube that will connect Dubai and Abu Dhabi with a 12-minute commute. Elsewhere in South Korea, competitor Hyperloop Transportation Technologies struck a deal for a similar project.
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In the United States, Musk envisioned a tube connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. A hypothetical calculation of the costs involved in constructing the system portrays the project as a cost-effective competitor to the state’s pricey bullet train endeavor.
Roughly $1.3 billion for pylons, $3.8 billion for tube, and $300 million for pods gives a total cost of about $5.4 billion or about $14 million per mile. This compares to a cost per mile for interstate highway of $10 million or more in urban areas and nearly $20 million per mile for highway in California.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…