You see that? The flattened, levitating vehicle of sorts, flying down a tube. That’s the future, folks, operated by Hyperloop One, which announced on Wednesday that it had completed the first full systems Hyperloop test.
In the test, Hyperloop says it’s vehicle traveled the first portion of a track using magnetic levitation in a vacuum environment, and reached 70 mph. It’s a significant leap past the company’s test a year ago, which sent a sled down a track for a grand total of two seconds.
And while that’s not the lighting-fast speed that Hyperloop Ones says it’s futurist transport system could go, the company says this test—conducted privately on May 12—is only Phase 1. Hyperloop One’s in the process of the next phase, now aiming for 250 mph.
“By achieving full vacuum, we essentially invented our own sky in a tube, as if you’re flying at 200,000 feet in the air,” said Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Hyperloop One. “For the first time in over 100 years, a new mode of transportation has been introduced. Hyperloop is real, and it’s here now.”
That statement means nothing, given the regulatory mile-high hurdles that Hyperloop needs to overcome if it wants to achieve the near-impossible goal of launching three routes in the U.S. by 2021. The practicality of the system seems questionable, and I’m not exactly sure a new mode of transportation is needed when we can’t even support the transit infrastructure we have now.
But look at the happy faces below. The vehicle moved, and nothing exploded. That alone is a victory.
Hyperloop One says it’ll continue to conduct test runs at the company’s DevLoop track in Nevada, and the next phase will show the system’s pod moving longer distances at faster speeds.