Austin is one step closer to being at the center of the world's first Hyperloop transportation system.
The technology — the brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk — is envisioned as passenger pods traveling at speeds up to 700 miles per hour through a low-pressure tube. So far, only a short test track has been constructed.
An organization called Hyperloop One has been holding an international competition called the Hyperloop One Global Challenge; 2,600 teams submitted proposals for the competition. That was narrowed to 35 earlier this year. Today, the 10 finalists, including a route through Texas, were announced.
“We had tremendous interest in this competition, and these ten teams each had their unique strengths in showcasing how they will alleviate serious transportation issues in their regions," said Hyperloop One's CEO Rob Lloyd.
The Texas proposal would connect Dallas-Fort Worth to Austin, San Antonio and Laredo, with a spur going to Houston. It promises travel times from Dallas to Austin of just 19 minutes, Austin to San Antonio in nine minutes and Dallas to Houston in 46 minutes.
Proposals in Colorado, Florida and the Great Lakes region were also among the finalists, along with teams in Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and India.
"Hyperloop One will now work closely with each winning team to validate and analyze their proposals further, and provide initial ridership forecasts, business case and preliminary technical analysis of the route and corridor, tailored to the needs of the individual route," the organizers said in a press release.
Significant regulatory, logistical and financial hurdles would undoubtedly need to be overcome for any of the finalist proposals to come to fruition.