The idea of a Hyperloop train travelling at the speed of sound has gone from Elon Musk's wild fantasy to an attainable reality in just a few short years. And now Hyperloop technology will be coming to public railways as soon as 2017.
Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HTT), one of two companies working to make the 700mph train a reality, has partnered with German railway company Deutsche Bahn to bring some of its advanced technologies to trains next year.
Although this won't include HTT's masterplan to produce a super-fast train levitating through a tunnel, it will see trains fitted with augmented reality windows and a "digital ecosystem" integrated with the railway operator's community.
No, we don't understand the second bit either, but augmented reality windows would certainly make dull train rides through endless fields much more interesting. The company says this partnership is "part of HTT's goals of making transportation enjoyable and profitable again by implementing more forward-thinking technologies into traditional ones."
Work on the project, dubbed 'innovation train', kicks off in early August and will use HTT's crowdsourcing and community-driven business model, along with funding from Deutsche Bahn. The new train will be ready for real-world passenger testing by the start of 2017. Deutche Bahn says its partnership with HTT will result in a "digital travel companion".
HTT chief executive Dirk Ahlborn said: "One of the biggest issues in public transportation is the need for public subsidies. New technologies and new ideas can create a better passenger experience while solving these issues through new monetisation strategies and business models, with the Hyperloop and other forms of transportation."