Pieces fall into place for new Hyperloop test track in France
Startup Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has been quite busy signing deals to explore the potential of high-speed transport routes all around the world, but has little in the way of functioning prototypes and test tracks to show for it. That seems about to change, with the company welcoming the tubes that will make up its first test track in Toulouse, France.
While there are a number startups vying to build the Hyperloop, a transport system that would see passenger and cargo pods shuttled through near-vacuum tubes at around the speed of sound, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) and competitor Virgin Hyperloop One are the two generating the most buzz.
For the latter, that has come through building a test track and firing its full-scale prototypes through the tube at increasingly faster speeds. But for HTT, that has mostly meant making agreements with governments from US states to South Korea, from India to Slovakia, to study the feasibility of a Hyperloop system, with little tangible progress to show for itself (save for some flashy renderings and promo videos).
Back in 2015 the company announced plans to build a passenger track in California, although that is yet to materialize. The new track planned for Toulouse does seem to be the real deal, however, with images and video shared by HTT showing a truck carting pieces of tube into the facility.
With a diameter of 4 m (13 ft), these tubes are built to accompany both passenger capsules and shipping containers. They will be assembled into a 320-meter (1,050 ft) long system that HTT says will be operational this year.
Meanwhile, it will begin construction of a larger, full-scale system measuring 1 km (0.62 mi)long on 5.8 meter (19 ft) tall pylons, which it expects to be completed by 2019. It says it is also nearing completion of a full-scale passenger pod, which will be delivered to the facility from Spain in the local summertime.
"Five years ago we set out to solve transportation's most pressing problems; efficiency, comfort and speed," said HyperloopTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn. "Today we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal. Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience."
HTT plans to hold a public unveiling at the Toulouse facility sometime later in 2018. You can check out the new promo video below.