Future of Transportation: Hyperloop One Conducts First Passenger Pod Test

As Elon Musk promotes new developments from Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company, one of the tech mogul's earliest transportation concepts has taken a big step toward becoming a reality. Hyperloop One, the preeminent company trying to bring Musk's vision of high-speed tube-based transportation into the real world, successfully tested a pod for the first time last weekend in the Nevada desert.

On Wednesday, the company posted a video of the trial run, during which the pod topped out at 192 miles per hour.

The XP-1 passenger pod, which is 28 feet long and made from aluminum and carbon fiber, reached its top speed in only five seconds, traveling 300 meters before slowing. Though 192 miles per hour may seem fast, Hyperloop One ultimately wants to get the pod's speed closer to 750 miles per hour, or around the speed of sound.

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As it has been conceived, the XP-1 levitated through the 500-meter-long concrete test tube, powered by an electric propulsion system and aided by the lack of air pressure in the tube.

"This is the dawn of the age of commercialization for the hyperloop," says Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar.

Elon Musk first floated the idea of a hyperloop in 2012, and subsequently open-sourced the concept so private companies could work to actualize the technology. Several companies were founded with the intention of developing and commercializing a hyperloop, but Hyperloop One, which is based in Los Angeles and has testing facilities in Nevada, has emerged as the industry leader.

Though Elon Musk has moved on to the ideas of colonizing Mars and expanding the reach of Tesla, he's still thinking about the potential of hyperloop. In July, he tweeted that his Boring Company had received verbal government approval to build a hyperloop that would connect New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Said approval was never confirmed, but the idea of a functioning hyperloop is clearly moving closer to reality.

According to Engadget, Hyperloop One sees the successful test as proof that the concept is workable. Next, the company will work to solve practical issues, such as how to insert and remove pods from tubes without losing the tubes' near-vacuum air pressure state. Increasing the pod's speed will come later.