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

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Vision Could Be Ready for Passengers by 2018 (ABC News)

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.

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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.