Big endorsement brings Hyperloop one step closer to reality

From Pittsburgh to Chicago in 45 minutes: That trip is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Engineers of the Hyperloop technology just got a big boost from the federal government.

The U.S, Secretary of Transportation has created a new council to explore the use of Hyperloop technology.

In 2018, 11 Investigates got an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at Virgin Hyperloop One, the world's first test site in the Las Vegas desert.


"People think it's science fiction, but you know, we proved right over there and you saw it that we actually have a proven the tech, so the reality is a lot closer than we think," said Sarah Lawson, with Virgin Hyperloop One.

Hyperloop uses a tube to transport passengers or freight in a pod at up to 760 miles per hour.

The new council, called the Non Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council, will coordinate the review of innovations from Hyperloop to autonomous cars.

This comes after the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission inked a deal with an engineering company to review a Hyperloop system connecting Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

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The trip would take about a half hour, with a stop in Harrisburg, and a northeast extension between Harrisburg and Wilkes Barre/Scranton.

At the test site in Las Vegas, engineers are optimistic.

"We are trying to make Hyperloop a new form of transportation that everyone can afford, so we are really looking to be the cost of a long distance bus ticket. We always say the speed of air for the cost of a bus," Lawson said.

Pennsylvania is now one of a handful of states studying the new technology, along with Ohio.