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Hyperloop tube travel getting closer to reality

Elon Musk’s dream of sending commuters hurtling through tubes at close to the speed of sound in a transport system he’s calling the Hyperloop is coming closer to reality.

Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, tweeted Thursday that he will be building a Hyperloop test track, “most likely in Texas.”

The billionaire entrepreneur first unveiled the concept in 2013. At the time he said that he wouldn’t take an active role in the project’s development.

The Hyperloop would consist of tubes in which pod-like cars would be pushed and pulled by a series of electric motors. They’d be similar to the pneumatic tubes that were once used to send mail and packages between buildings.

The system could cut the travel time from Los Angeles to San Francisco to 30 minutes, and building it could be dramatically cheaper than the high-speed rail project that recently broke ground there. In fact, it was the high cost of the California train that prompted Musk to research the transportation system in the first place.

In California, the tube could be built above ground, roughly following the Interstate 5 highway between L.A. and San Francisco. The entire thing would be powered by solar panels mounted on top of the tube.

In the tweet, Musk said companies and students would be able to use the test track in Texas. In a follow-up Tweet, he said he is also thinking of hosting an annual student Hyperloop race competition.

SpaceX would not release any further details Thursday. A spokesperson for Tesla declined to comment.

Musk was in Texas at an annual transportation forum.

 

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