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Hyperloop One Aces First Test Run, Inches Closer to 700-MPH Transit

Futuristic network of rapid transportation tubes has successful-but-brief trial run

Elon Musk’s dream of a shuttling passengers back and forth between Los Angeles and San Francisco at rapid speeds is starting to become a reality.

Hyperloop One — the Los Angeles-based team that picked up and ran with Musk’s idea in 2014 — just released video of its first full-scale test run. The Hyperloop is an aerodynamic pod that will use “magnetic levitation” to shoot riders through tubes at up to 700 mph underground — akin to a futuristic bullet train.

The initial run was on May 12, with the prototype Hyperloop running at 70 miles per hour on its test track in Nevada. The trip was barely more than five seconds long, but the Hyperloop One team — resembling a scene out of a space launch — were happy to see it go off without a hitch. It’ll now look to ramp up its speed to 250 mph for the next phase.

Hyperloop One also shared new images of its 28-foot pods with The Verge, which are made of structural aluminum and carbon fiber.

The idea first bubbled up in 2013, when Musk revealed a 57-page PDF outlining a transportation system similar to the tubes darting parcels around mail rooms. Musk didn’t have the bandwidth to take on the project — apparently getting the world off fossil fuels and colonizing Mars is time consuming — but he thought it’d be a faster and cheaper alternative to California’s high-speed rail project. Now, Hyperloop One has a team of 200 workers looking to make it come to fruition.

In an appearance this morning on CBS News, co-founder Shervin Pishevar called the test run its “Kitty Hawk moment” — comparing it to when the Wright Brothers first took flight in 1903.

And just to be clear, the Hyperloop isn’t to be confused with Musk’s other idea for underground transportation — The Boring Company, which is looking to circumvent L.A. traffic through a series of subterranean busses.