Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has signed its first commercial deal to license its technology in South Korea.
The agreement will see the South Korean government's technological innovation and infrastructure, the Korean Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology and Hanyang University working together with the HTT to co-develop a full scale Hyperloop system in the country.
The agreements include licensing and research development of the tube infrastructure technologies and a safety platform, a full-scale testbed for hyperloop, safety standards and regulations for the Hyperloop system and licensing HTT technologies such as HTT's levitation and propulsion technology, battery and energy management.
The full scale Hyperloop system locally dubbed HyperTube Express (HTX) would transform the three-hour drive from Seoul to Busan to an under 20-minute ride.
"We were the first company working to make the Hyperloop a reality, and seeing governments like South Korea taking steps on implementing these systems are great milestones," Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Earlier this year the South Korean government revealed its plan to develop a near-supersonic train that would be able to travel from Seoul to Busan in just half an hour. The Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) would join other research groups and Hanyang University to build a train-like public transport concept that is as fast as the speed of sound reaching 1,000km per hour.
Ahlborn told CNBC there was no clear timeline, but now that the government will have access to HTT's technology, it could speed up development. "I will estimate that beginning of next year they will be ready to start construction," said Ahlborn.
Founded in 2013, the HTT is designing and building an end-to-end transport system to move people and goods at near the speed of sound. Besides South Korea, the firm has signed agreements in California, Slovakia, Abu Dhabi, the Czech Republic, France, and Indonesia.