SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk really wants to revolutionize the way we travel, or at least make us dream of the future. While the Hyperloop team itself has said that it it’s going to take at least 10 years to make that particular dream a reality, it’s not going to stop Musk from getting things rolling, almost literally. He has taken to his Twitter account to share with the public his plans to move the Hyperloop forward, starting with a test track for companies and students, as well as some annual competition to stir up the creative juices.
It has been more than a year since Musk revealed another one of his pet projects, perhaps his most ambitious yet considering the goals. The Hyperloop, as it was later formally called, aimed to be a faster, safer, less expensive, self-powering mode of transportation the world has ever seen. Definitely the stuff of science fiction and an engineering puzzle waiting to be solved. Though the proximate goal was to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, the end goal would be to build a network that would span the whole country.
Last December, the Hyperloop gave their year-end report, revealing that it could take 10 years to build that criss-crossing network, not to mention the first working Hyperloop segment. They also believe that the estimated $10 billion needed to fun the venture is still pretty much accurate. Given this involves Musk, funding is perhaps the least of their worries.
Of course, the biggest problem will be the engineering and manufacturing involved, and that will take the cooperation not only of companies but also of researchers in universities. For that purpose, Musk wants to build a Hyperloop test track where these ideas can be tested in real transport pods, or bubbles, based on the latest report. And as an incentive for these researchers to really bring out their best ideas, Musk is considering setting up an annual pod racing competition.
Like the much talked about gigafactory for its EV batteries, the location of this Hyperloop testing facilities hasn’t been revealed yet, though Musk claims it might very well be in Texas. When it will open, however, is of course a different round of speculation.