Hyperloop One announced that it has conducted a successful first test of its full hyperloop system, according to Wired. Company officials said the next test will aim for a speed of 250 mph, still a far cry from its goal of 700 mph.
The sled achieved a speed of 70 mph in a little more than five seconds in a tube nearly in vacuum, with all systems — sled, tube, propulsion, braking and levitation — performing accurately. The design for the eventual 28-foot-long aluminum and carbon fiber passenger pod was also revealed.
Hyperloop One successfully tested its sled without the tube in May 2016, reaching 116 mph in a little over one second. One challenge to reaching top speed is the development of an airlock system that lets the pods enter and exit the tube without losing the vacuum.
The company also needs to convince code officials and certification agencies that the system is safe to operate, as well as come up with a financial plan that will allow the company to compete with other mass transit systems, namely airplanes.
Last month, Hyperloop One competitor Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) inked a commercial licensing deal with South Korea, allowing researchers there to use HTT's technology to build the Hyper Tube Express. In addition to the licensing of its levitation, propulsion and battery technology, HTT said it will work with the South Korean agencies to develop new features for the hyperloop line.
Meanwhile, construction on HTT's California test track was delayed as of last September because the company had not yet completed the required environmental review application. At the time, HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn told The Verge that construction was being pushed back due to red tape and that the project would begin in a few months.
According to CNBC, construction still had not begun on the track as of May and the company was still working on the environmental review. However, HTT has a hyperloop capsule in production as of this spring.
The inspiration for a functional hyperloop system is thanks largely to Elon Musk. In 2013, the inventor and entrepreneur published a white paper describing a hyperloop system and issued a challenge to design teams everywhere to come up with a working model. Musk's SpaceX is building its own hyperloop test track, but Musk has said he doesn’t back any one company's technology.