Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has reached an agreement with the government of Slovakia to explore building a local Hyperloop system.
The next steps in this project will include identifying a route that can connect three European capitals, Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, with Vienna in Austria and Budapest in Hungary.
HTT is a US-based research firm that was formed using a crowd collaboration approach to develop a transportation system based on the Hyperloop concept, which was envisioned by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2013.
Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation concept by Tesla Motors and Elon Musk that is designed to move pods of people at high speed.
The Bratislava-to-Vienna route will take approximately eight minutes at Hyperloop’s full speed and the Bratislava-to-Budapest route ten minutes.
Slovak Republic economy minister Vazil Hudak said: "Hyperloop in Europe would cut distances substantially and network cities in unprecedented ways.
"A transportation system of this kind would redefine the concept of commuting and boost cross-border co-operation in Europe.
"The expansion of Hyperloop will lead to an increased demand for the creation of new innovation hubs, in Slovakia and all over Europe."
It is expected that a route between Bratislava and Košice, a distance of 400km, will also be considered, which would connect the eastern and western sides of Slovakia with a short trip of 25 minutes, reducing the typical four and a half hour car ride.
HTT chief operating officer Bibop Gresta said: "In 1896, the first electric underground railway system was built in Budapest and already in 1914 the first electric trainline between Bratislava and Vienna was created.
"Slovakia continues to confirm its position as one of the most forward thinking countries by embracing innovations like the Hyperloop transportation system."
In 2013, Musk unveiled the Hyperloop concept, which if implemented, will allow passengers to travel nearly 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes, compared to an hour and 15 minutes by plane, and two hours and 40 minutes using California’s planned high-speed rail line.
Involving firing frictionless, magnetically levitated pod vehicles through a near-vacuum tunnel, the Hyperloop concept will be solar-powered, safe and reliable, regardless of weather conditions.
According to Musk, people and cars can be transported between cities inside aluminium pods at 800mph inside elevated tubes by using magnets and fans to shoot capsules floating on a cushion of air.
Musk noted the Hyperloop system, which he said will cost $6bn to implement between San Francisco and Los Angeles, could act as a fifth mode of mass transport after planes, trains, cars and boats.
Founded in 2013 by JumpStarter using its crowdfunding and crowd collaboration platform JumpStartFund, HTT designs, manufactures and builds a highly profitable, fast, safe and environmentally friendly transportation system for passengers and goods.
Image: The Slovakian Government begins plans for the first Hyperloop system in Europe. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto / Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.