One of two start-ups aiming to commercialise hyperloop technology – a future transport mode conceived by Elon Musk – has successfully tested its propulsion system and secured US$80 million ($108 million) in additional funding.
Hyperloop One released video of its first propulsion open-air test at a desert site in North Las Vegas, which was not live-streamed but was witnessed firsthand by a large press contingent.
A hyperloop – as imagined by Musk – would consist of capsules for people or cargo that travel at hypersonic speeds through a “continuous steel tube maintained at a partial vacuum”.
The open-air test by Hyperloop One was of one element of the technology needed to make this future mode of transport a reality.
It focused on the efficacy of the propulsion motor technology that Hyperloop One hopes to use, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
“A roughly 10-foot sled containing the propulsion motor, but no passengers, lurched forward—a sign that the engine was starting,” the paper said.
“It zoomed by at 116 miles an hour (187 km an hour) and then drove into a pool of sand designed to stop it, creating a giant spray of dust. The company hasn’t yet built brakes for the contraption.”
A more complete test is scheduled to occur sometime later this year, which should be capable of speeds closer to that which the technology aims to achieve.