Ground transportation that's much faster than modern planes made another major step forward with the announcement that U.S. company Hyperloop One opened its first factory this week outside Las Vegas.
Its 170 engineers, technicians and highly skilled workers are expected to build a working prototype of a superfast vacuum tube transportation device by 2017.
The name Hyperloop was introduced in 2012 by the U.S.-based South African billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla Motors and SpaceX Corporation.
Hyperloop is depicted in a drawing released by Elon Musk.
According to his idea, passengers sitting in a closed capsule would travel at high speed through a near-vacuum tube with very low air resistance, while magnetic levitation would keep the pod friction-free. The underground or aboveground travel would be immune to weather changes and collisions and would require little energy.
The projected top speed is set to be 1,220 kilometers per hour (750 miles per hour).
A pre-feasibility study envisages a Hyperloop tube built between Stockholm and Helsinki, cutting the travel between the two cities from 3½ hours to about 30 minutes.