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Early test shows off Hyperloop system

Do Not UseDo Not Use 12/05/2016
Sand is displaced as a test sled is slowed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site © Getty Images Sand is displaced as a test sled is slowed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site

An early test of Hyperloop - a proposed high-speed transport system - has accelerated a sled to 116 mph (187km/h) in 1.1 seconds in the Nevada desert.

Sand is displaced as a test sled is slowed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site: The test sent desert sand high into the air © Getty Images The test sent desert sand high into the air

Wednesday's demonstration was the first public glimpse of Hyperloop, a system that could send people and cargo through tubes at the speed of sound.

Hyperloop tubes are displayed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site: Company hopes to one day link Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes © Reuters Company hopes to one day link Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes

Executives hope in five years' time people will be able to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.

A recovery vehicle and test sled sit on a track after a test of a Hyperloop One propulsion system: The test in Nevada desert was the first public look at the propulsion system © AP The test in Nevada desert was the first public look at the propulsion system

"It's real. It's happening now," Hyperloop CEO Rob Lloyd said.

A sled speeds down a track during a test of a Hyperloop One propulsion system, Wednesday,: The sled accelerated to 116 mph in 1.1 seconds © AP The sled accelerated to 116 mph in 1.1 seconds

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk first pitched the idea in 2013, urging others to take up the proposals as he and his company developed electric cars and solar energy technology.

The technology uses levitating pods that move through a low-friction environment with electricity and magnets. The pods are designed to travel at more than 700 mph (1,120km/h).

Hyperloop hopes to start moving cargo by 2019 and people by 2021. However, huge logistical and technological hurdles remain.

The plan has detractors including James Moore, director of the University of Southern California's Transportation Engineering Program.

"I would certainly not say nothing will come of Hyperloop technology," Mr Moore told the Associated Press. "But I doubt this specific piece of technology will have a dramatic effect on how we move people and goods in the near term."

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