Every Company in the Hyperloop Game Will Have Test Tracks Next Year

2016 will be the year of the hyperloop.

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Dec 8 2015, 7:48pm

Image: Hyperloop Technologies Inc.

Hyperloop Technologies Inc., one of two commercial companies racing to build Elon Musk's futuristic hyperloop transportation system, announced on Tuesday that it purchased land for a kilometre-long test track to be built in Nevada next year.

The announcement means that all three companies working on hyperloop technology—including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX—are now committed to building test tracks for the fantastical high-speed tube transport system in 2016.

The hyperloop first appeared in a highly detailed white paper written by Musk and a team of SpaceX engineers in August of 2013. The system would use specially designed motors and a pillow of air to propel floating pods down a partially pressurized tube at close to 800 miles per hour. Theoretically, a hyperloop could take someone from Los Angeles to San Francisco—a distance of nearly 400 miles—in just 35 minutes.

"This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality," said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies, Inc., in a statement.

Musk has committed SpaceX to doing basic work to spur innovation in hyperloop technology, but has stated that the company will not try and compete with the two commercial Hyperloop companies—Hyperloop Technologies Inc., and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

SpaceX's hyperloop test track will be located next to its Hawthorne, California facility, and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies' track will also be in California. Hyperloop Technologies Inc., on the other hand, will be the outlier on a 50 acre plot in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Like the other two companies, Hyperloop Technologies Inc. will be testing their hyperloop prototype at speeds much lower than the 800 miles per hour forecasted by Musk's 2013 white paper—about 335 miles per hour, according to the statement.

If a real, full-sized, functioning hyperloop is ever built, the total cost is expected to number in the tens of billions of dollars.