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World’s first full-scale hyperloop prototype under construction

Hold tight: US firm Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has begun construction of the first hyperloop test system.


Hyperloop technology is based on ‘pods’ suspended by magnetic levitation and propelled by an electric motor. They travel at over 1,000 kph through near-vacuum tubes – either underground, or above held up by columns.

In theory, a hyperloop system could reduce a 12-hour train journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco to just 35 minutes.

Taking off

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT), one of the companies vying to be first to launch hyperloop services, has begun work on an internal diameter test track in Toulouse, France. It will be 320 metres long with an interior diameter of 4 metres.

This will be the first phase and is due to be completed by the end of the year. A full scale, 1 km long system, elevated by pylons at a height of 5.8 metres, is set to be finished in 2019.

HyperloopTT’s passenger capsule, currently near completion at Carbures in Spain, is scheduled for delivery to the facility this summer for assembly and integration.

"An important step"

HyperloopTT CEO, Dirk Ahlborn, said: “Five years ago we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems; efficiency, comfort and speed. Today we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal.

"Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparallelled passenger experience.”

Bibop Gresta, HyperloopTT Chairman, added: “Building in full-scale means we’re committed to innovation in the long-term. We’ve pioneered the technology, proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE. We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations. We have a research centre for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule. Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.”


Read our more in-depth feature on hyperloop in smart cities here.

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