We've been hearing about the Hyperloop transport system for quite some time, and for some of us, the wait has been to just see the technology successfully tested. Well, that time has arrived, as a mere three years following the founding of Hyperloop, a test was pulled off without issue in the desert north of Las Vegas.
But, while "without issue" is indeed true, the top speed reached isn't anywhere near what Hyperloop could ultimately achieve: about 750KM/h. This test instead capped at 160KM/h (100MPH), which in itself would still be quite fast (versus highway speeds) given the fixed path. Brogan BamBrogan, a former SpaceX engineer who co-founded Hyperloop One, called the test a "major milestone". He continued, "Technology development testing can be a tricky beast. You never know on a given day if things are going to work exactly like what you want."
That latter thought hits the nail on the head when it comes to advanced technologies like these. Another Elon Musk company, SpaceX, has had to live that statement through multiple rocket launches. These machines are so complex, that it's impossible to know with absolute certainty that a test will go off without a hitch. Sometimes, mistakes need to be made to figure out safer solutions for future missions.
At least in Hyperloop's case, it seems like we've seem more success than failure so far, although there is still a long ways to go. To have transport technology hit a staggering 1,200KM/h is going to require some incredible engineering and testing, but if Musk's promises prove true, a bi-directional system could cost much less than a high-speed rail project (quoted as being 1/10th the cost).
The system is so impressive on paper that it almost seems too good to be true. But, this successful test is just the beginning.