The highway slog between Cleveland and Chicago currently takes about five and a half hours by car, but a proposed Hyperloop ride could cut that journey to around 30 relaxing minutes.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) signed an agreement with state transportation departments in Illinois and Ohio Thursday to begin a feasibility study for what could become the first interstate Hyperloop system.
HTT, along with Virgin Hyperloop One, is one of the larger early players in the Hyperloop space, though Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says he now wants to build his own Hyperloop as well. HTT's agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Northern Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency will identify possible routes for the Hyperloop line. It would be the first interstate Hyperloop line in the United States, should everything pan out.
A lot of work is still needed to bring a Hyperloop system to life. To start, the technology isn't there quite yet. Virgin Hyperloop One conducted speed tests up to 240 mph, but the goal is to propel levitating cargo pods and eventually passenger pods at speeds up to 700 mph within near vacuum tight tunnels. HTT hasn't carried out any of its own tests, but its approach to studying the feasibility first is one it thinks will pay off. The company claimed it's the first true private-public partnership to bring a Hyperloop connection to the U.S.
HTT also has feasibility studies underway in Slovakia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Indonesia, India, and South Korea.