Early test shows off high-speed Hyperloop transport system

media captionThe Nevada test accelerated a sled to 116 mph (187km/h) in 1.1 seconds

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.

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.

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

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

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.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe test sent desert sand high into the air
image copyrightReuters
image captionCompany hopes to one day link Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes
image copyrightAP
image captionThe test in Nevada desert was the first public look at the propulsion system
image copyrightAP
image captionThe sled accelerated to 116 mph in 1.1 seconds

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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