Elon Musk may not have taken his Hyperloop concept beyond the initial white paper, but multiple companies have stepped in to try to make it a reality. One is Hyperloop One, which appears to be making some actual progress. The company recently completed a full-scale Hyperloop test track in Nevada, and is now looking into possible U.S. routes. The 11 finalists were developed by independent teams, and were selected based on perceived feasibility, according to Electrek.
The route list includes locations all across the country, with most proposals linking major cities. The shortest proposed route, at 64 miles, would link Boston with Providence, Rhode Island, via Somerset, Massachusetts. The longest would connect Houston with Cheyenne, Wyoming, a distance of 1,152 miles.
The 11 U.S. teams join 24 international teams in the competition. Out of that group of 35, three teams will be chosen to work directly with Hyperloop One to "explore project development and financing," but that does not guarantee each will get its own hyperloop. For example, Hyperloop One has already received some investment from Dubai, which might put the Middle Eastern city ahead.
A hyperloop uses pods propelled through tubes at estimated speeds of around 700 miles per hour to transport people and cargo. Musk originally discussed it as a better alternative to high-speed rail, owing to the greater speeds Hyperloop pods can achieve. But the concept has not been thoroughly tested, and there are still lingering questions around issues like what happens in the case of a fire or other emergency.
Hyperloop One's test track is complete, but it remains to be seen if it is operational. Called "DevLoop," the track is located in North Las Vegas, Nevada, and measures 1,640 feet in length.