I confess I’m skeptical of Elon Musk’s dream of the Hyperloop, where firing people out of a railgun is a viable form of travel. But I’m rooting for him to make it happen, and somebody actually just managed to get it started.
Oddly, according to Ars Technica, Musk actually had nothing to do with the start. A company called HTT has instead gotten permission to build the test track and use Musk’s tech. HTT is vastly more modest than Musk, looking into speeds of a mere 200 to 300 miles per hour and to build the whole track for $16 billion or so.
On the other hand, that’s both far faster than current trains, and those numbers are more realistic from a health and safety perspective. Yes, if something goes wrong at 200 mph, you are still a red smear, but you’re a red smear on something less likely to take out somebody else along the route or destroy all the infrastructure.
Musk has stayed oddly silent through all this, but one assumes he’s too busy arguing with reporters to weigh in yet. Either way, it’s nice to see the future arriving, if only a few miles at a time.