A sled powered by electromagnets rocketed to more than 100 miles an hour. It was made by Hyperloop One and has raised $80 million from backers including clean technology venture capitalist Khosla Ventures, high-speed railway SNCF, and GE Ventures.
The big idea is that passengers and cargo will ride a system at velocities approaching 750 miles per hour instead of taking the much slower train.
Brogan BamBrogan, a former SpaceX engineer who co-founded Hyperloop One, called the test a major milestone.
“Technology development testing can be a tricky beast,” he said to a crowd of 300. “You never know on a given day if things are going to work exactly like you want.”
The sled began on a train track and then was rocketed to 105 miles per hour by electromagnets as electricity was shot into copper coils. After a short ride, the sled ran into a sand trap, sending out silicon sprays. If all goes according to plan, sleds will levitate and carry pods in a test later this year. Gigantic tubes already are scattered around the Las Vegas area test site.
The plan is that hyperloop would transport cargo by 2019 and passengers by 2021. However the project could face all sorts of nightmares ranging from construction permits to making the new technology work.