US Companies Look To Build First Commercial Hyperloop System In Asia | Independent Newspapers Limited
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US Companies Look To Build First Commercial Hyperloop System In Asia

Posted: Mar 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Channel News Asia

LOS ANGELES: The world’s newest form of transportation, the Hyperloop, promises supersonic speeds at bus ticket prices.

The technology – which aims to shoot passengers in capsules through low-pressure tubes at over 1,000 kilometres per hour – is being developed by two companies in California, but plans to build the futuristic system at full scale are centring on Asia.

“There are other countries around the world that have bigger problems when we talk about congestion, traffic, pollution, and these countries are willing to push new technologies through much easier than we do in America,” said Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn. “We are concentrating mostly on Asia.”

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn said his company is deep into discussions with city pairs in countries like Indonesia and India. His competitors at Hyperloop Technologies Inc have also spoken of building in Asia.

Since tech impresario Elon Musk released his Hyperloop plan to a splash of publicity in 2013, engineers and entrepreneurs have flocked to the concept, but NASA engineers have pointed out flaws in Musk’s designs, and critics question the Hyperloop’s cost projections.

“At this point I think everything about it is totally premature,” said StreetsBlog San Francisco editor Roger Rudick. “It’s basically vapourware, it doesn’t exist. It’s nice to talk about but it doesn’t exist yet.”

However, this could be about to change as both major Hyperloop companies are breaking ground on prototype Hyperloop tracks this year in the western United States. If things move as fast as the companies promise, work on an intercity Asian Hyperloop could begin within five years.

“We have around 20 city pairs that are interested in having the first full scale Hyperloop,” said Ahlborn.

While Ahlborn did not share which cities are most likely to be chosen, he promises an announcement within months, which could bring a pair of Asian cities into the international transportation spotlight.