Not the real thing. Not yet. But a test-bed for technologies being developed for Elon Musk’s futuristic means of transportation, the Hyperloop.
One of the startups trying to turn this concept into reality, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced yesterday a collaboration with German railway company Deutsche Bahn to create an “Innovation Train”, using cutting edge tech being developed for the Hyperloop to augment passengers’ travel experience on a conventional train.
Examples include ‘augmented windows’ displaying all sort of information on top of the landscape’s view and ‘virtual windows’ that will instead completely replace the real scenery with an alternative one. The company has released a couple of videos showing a simulation of the technology in action.
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The goal is to have them up and running, for a first trial, by the beginning of next year. For the time being the project, which is financed by Deutsche Bahn, is still in research stage.
For a company like HTT which cannot count, so far, on huge venture capital investments but only on a ‘crowdsourced model‘, where most people provide their work for free in exchange for stock options, this kind of partnerships is instrumental, as it provides a financially sustainable way to focus on innovation.
While allowing, on the other hand, railway companies to step out of their usual comfort zone and get in touch with the latest developments in the transportation sector.
“One of the biggest issues in public transportation is the need for public subsidies,” said Dirk Ahlborn, HTT CEO in a statement. “New technologies and new ideas, can create a better passenger experience while solving these issues through new monetization strategies and business models, with the Hyperloop and all other forms of transportation.”
Christoph Kraller, managing director of Deutsche Bahn’s Südostbayernbahn (SOB) regional rail network also welcomed the deal, saying it will help “integrate new ideas and innovative prototypes” into the local passenger train service.
HTT is not the only startup trying to build the Hyperloop: there’s at least one big competitor, Hyperloop One, which opened two days ago its first factory in an industrial warehouse in Las Vegas.
Earlier this month, the latter company also published a pre-feasibility study about a Hyperloop track connecting Helsinki to Stockholm in less than 30 minutes. It would cost $21 billion, including the $3.3 billion needed to build a tunnel under the Aland archipelago
This article was written by Federico Guerrini from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.