Elon Musk's Hyperloop Vision Could Be Ready for Passengers by 2018

PHOTO:The Hyperloop could be ready for passengers by 2018. PlayHyperloop Transportation Technologies
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The Hyperloop, Elon Musk's vision of launching humans through pods inside a high-speed transportation system, could be ready for passengers by 2018, according to a company building a transportation track in California.

The billionaire businessman first unveiled his futuristic idea in 2013, calling it "a cross between a Concord, a rail gun and an air hockey table." He published the 57-page design plan on both Tesla Motors' and SpaceX's blogs as a PDF available for download and for anyone to bring the idea to life.

One company working to make Musk's vision a reality, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said it has filed for construction permits in Quay Valley, California, for a 5-mile track.

"We are announcing the filing of the first building permit to Kings County to the building of the first full-scale hyperloop, not a test track," Bibop Gresta, the chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a CNBC/TradeShift event.

Once implemented on a larger scale, Musk's plan envisions a Hyperloop that could carry travelers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour, easily beating out a costly high-speed rail project.

The Hyperloop is a large pneumatic tube, similar to the system used by some hospitals to transport documents, samples and medications in a more efficient manner. New York City also relied on a network of pneumatic tubes to transport mail during the first half of the 20th century.

For human travel, Musk calls for a large fan to be mounted to the front of a pod, which would re-direct high pressure to the rear of the capsule, facilitating even higher speeds.