Techie Tuesday: Pneumatic Tube Trains

Will people fly through pneumatic tubes at a thousand miles per hour?  The dream of Elon Musk’s hyperloop may be here sooner than you’d think.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a California company that’s actually building Musk’s futuristic transportation system, said that it expects to break ground on the project sometime in 2016. The company also noted that it had linked up with three new partners—an engineering design firm, an architectural firm, and a company that creates industrial vacuums—to help bring Musk’s vision to life.

If all goes according to plan, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies says it expects a working hyperloop prototype about five miles in length to be up and running in a stretch of land alongside Interstate 5 in between Los Angeles and San Francisco sometime before the end of 2016, with passengers able to ride by 2018. About 400 people are working on the project daily, the company said.

Hyperloop, of course, is a transportation system that was announced by Elon Musk in 2013. The idea, which Motherboard has covered extensively, is designed to transport passengers inside near-vacuum tubes at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour. Another company, Hyperloop Technologies, is also working on an implementation of Musk’s design, while SpaceX will hold a competition next year for transportation pod designs.