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Startup to begin construction of Hyperloop track next year

HTT's model, which will host real human riders, will focus more on the role of the travelers -- testing pod and station designs.

By Brooks Hays
Startup to begin construction of Hyperloop track next year
A rendering of the hypothetical Hyperloop test track at Quay Valley. Photo by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

QUAY VALLEY, Calif., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) wants to turn Elon Musk's ideas for a high-speed tube-based transportation system into a reality. That goal became slightly more grounded this week, as the company announced plans to build a five-mile test track on the grounds of a California model town called Quay Valley.

The company expects to raise the $100 million it needs to construct the test track when it holds its initial public offering in the third quarter of 2015. HTT plans to break ground in 2016 and deliver the goods by 2018.

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Made famous by a white paper published by Elon Musk in 2013, the Hyperloop calls for a long-distance transportation system featuring vehicles traveling at high speeds through depressurized tubes. Musk's initial concept called for maximum speeds nearing 800 mph, but HTT's model will top out at 200 mph.

"It's not about speed," HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn told The Verge. "There are a lot of other things that need to be optimized."

HTT's model, which will host real human riders, will focus more on the role of the travelers -- testing pod and station designs, as well procedures for loading and unloading passengers.

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But Ahlborn says the facility -- part of a high-tech planned community possibly more experimental than Hyperloop itself -- won't be a prototype or proof of concept.

"It's not a test track," CEO Dirk Ahlborn told Wired. It's meant to be the real deal -- only in a five-mile loop that takes passengers in a complete circle (instead of from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as Musk has envisioned).

Ahlborn and his company aren't alone in their quest to make Hyperloop a reality. Another similarly named company, Hyperloop Technologies, has raised $8.5 million to build a test track. And Musk has since announced plans to construct a testing facility in Texas. All three of the endeavors are littered with engineers and scientists formerly of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

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