Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a company working to make Elon Musk's dreams of a levitating, 700mph train a reality, is to open a test facility in France.
To be built in Toulouse, known as "Aerospace Valley", the development and testing facility will be used to produce Hyperloop-related technologies. As part of the agreement with HTT, Toulouse will provide a 3,000 square metre (37,674 sq ft) facility, along with "outdoor terrain" for various aspects of the Hyperloop to be tested on.
The facility will be located at Francazal Airport, a former military base currently being converted into a proving ground for various forms of "mobility innovation". Founded in 2013 soon after Musk published a white paper detailing how a Hyperloop might work, HTT was produced by JustStartFund, a crowdfunding and crowdsourcing incubator.
Musk designed his plans for the Hyperloop after being dissatisfied with the US government's plans to build a conventional high speed railway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a top speed of just 220mph. Musk's plans detail a train capable of reaching over 700mph.
Seeking 'the brightest minds in aerospace'
HTT chief executive Dirk Ahlborn said: "Our new centre in Toulouse will help us continue to develop and manufacture important aerospace technology which will further improve the system. The talent pool in the region allows us to hire some of the brightest minds in aerospace."
Company chairman Bibop Gresta described Toulouse as "the heart of Europe's aerospace industry".
HTT's plans involve a train that uses a technology called passive magnetic levitation which its creators claim is more efficient and safer than the levitation system used by Maglev trains in Japan.
Where Maglev trains require many power stations to be installed along the side of the track, each feeding electricity to copper cables in the track, which become an electromagnet once charged, the Hyperloop system has a passive magnet on each train carriage and an aluminium track containing loops of wire. This setup is more like a pair of regular magnets, rather than an electromagnet which requires a constant supply of electricity to work.