The world’s first full-scale Hyperloop capsule, which promises to carry passengers at speeds of 700mph, has been unveiled in Spain.
The slick 105-foot long prototype, named Quintero One, was revealed on Tuesday by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) at its facilities in Puerto de Santa Maria.
The firm says passengers should think of it as an “airplane without wings”. It weighs 5 tonnes and can hold 30 to 40 passengers at a time. The exterior is made up of carbon fiber composites that Hyperloop TT claims will protect passengers if anything hits the capsule’s exterior.
Hyperloop technology has been in development for six years. Engineers envision a system that uses magnet-powered passenger capsules in a vacuum tube to accelerate travellers to rapid speeds, drastically cutting travel times.
The idea for the transport system originated from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk after he was stuck in traffic on the way to a technology conference in 2012. He then released the idea publicly, allowing businesses to attempt to build the technology.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, led by Dirk Ahlborn, was one of the first companies to form following Musk’s tweet. The firm currently has 800 engineers working on the technology and has teamed up with companies such as vacuum maker Leybold and Spanish technology firm Airtificial to make it a reality.