The Boring Company will start "full-scale" testing of hyperloop as early as this year, the company revealed in a tweet following an update from founder Elon Musk.
The hyperloop was first proposed by Musk in a white paper in 2013 as a theoretical concept for a transportation system that sends passengers in autonomous electric pods through a vacuum-sealed tube traveling at speeds higher than 600 mph.
In another recent tweet, Musk explains that "from a known physics standpoint, [hyperloop] is the fastest possible way of getting from one city center to another for distances less than ~2000 miles. Starship is faster for longer journeys."
In the coming years, Boring Co will attempt to build a working Hyperloop.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 24, 2022
From a known physics standpoint, this is the fastest possible way of getting from one city center to another for distances less than ~2000 miles. Starship is faster for longer journeys.
He also stated that The Boring Company will attempt to build a working hyperloop "in the coming years". The Boring Company recently raised $675 million at a $5.7 billion valuation.
Ground transportation at "airplane speeds"
When Musk first published his white paper on the hyperloop concept in 2013, he called on other companies to take the mantle as he was focusing primarily on his work with SpaceX and Tesla. SpaceX also hosted a hyperloop competition between 2015 and 2019 where students and enthusiasts built prototype versions of the transport pods.
The system is still theoretical, though companies such as Hyperloop TT have developed concepts such as the hyperloop port for efficient ground cargo transport at "airplane speeds". Virgin Hyperloop also recently announced it had shifted its focus from passenger to cargo transport to address the supply chain problem highlighted by the pandemic and avoid regulatory hurdles.
We are yet to see a working example of hyperloop, and some have claimed the system may not be commercially viable. According to leaked documents from Hyperloop One in 2016, the cost of hyperloop is likely much higher than Musk anticipated in his 2013 white paper due to the many variables that need to be taken into account depending on the track's location. Musk had originally estimated that hyperloop would cost $11 million per mile of track. Still, The Boring Company aims to make Musk's vision a reality, and if all goes to plan, we could see tangible results as soon as this year.