Aecom to design and build Hyperloop test track

US engineer Aecom has been selected to design and build the world’s first Hyperloop test track.

The project, which is part of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, is a university-focused challenge intended to help spur student innovation.

The Hyperloop was proposed by entrepreneur Elon Musk four years ago and anticipation has been building ever since.

Passengers will theoretically be able to travel at velocities of up to 1,300km/h in low pressure tubes, just below the speed of sound.

What we are delivering is more than just a track to test pod prototypes; it’s a glimpse into the future– Michael Burke, Aecom chairman

The test track’s 6ft diameter steel tube will include a non-magnetic sub-track and run for nearly one mile adjacent to SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, southwest California.

Cradled in place above the ground, it will serve as a vacuum-sealed, high-speed proving ground for the transport pod prototypes being developed as part of a SpaceX design competition.

Aecom will use its experience in transportation and infrastructure to "further the advancement of an entirely new mode of transit".

Michael Burke, Aecom’s chairman, said: "Aecom has designed and built some of the world’s most impressive transportation systems, so we appreciate how the development of a functioning Hyperloop with SpaceX can dramatically expand the ways people move across cities, countries and continents.

"What we are delivering is more than just a track to test pod prototypes; it’s a glimpse into the future."

Construction work on the track is likely to start in spring this year.

More than 100 university student teams from around the world are preparing to present their pod prototypes at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, being held at Texas A&M University this weekend.

Image: Artist’s depiction of the Hyperloop tube (Hyperloop)

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