Elon Musk's dream of transporting humans through tubes at hypersonic speeds moved one step closer to reality.
Officials in India have designated a proposed Mumbai to Pune hyperloop a "public infrastructure project," which means they will soon begin to take bids on its construction, according to The Verge.
Virgin Hyperloop One and its partner DP World are the originators of the multibillion-dollar project, the first phase of which will link the aforementioned cities in less than 35 minutes, the technology site reports. That journey takes three-and-a-half hours by car.
Taxpayer funds will reportedly not be spent on the hyperloop effort, but DP World will spend $500 million to complete phase one of the project, with the rest of the money coming from investors.
The designation is “incredibly significant to moving hyperloop forward globally,” said Ryan Kelly, head of marketing and communications at Virgin Hyperloop One, in an email to The Verge. “This is not exploration; this is a solid confirmation.”
Virgin Hyperloop One's test facility in Nevada has demonstrated the ability to send a magnetically levitating pod through a tube at speeds of up to 240 miles per hour, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The company's project in India dates back to 2017, reports The Verge, which is when the firm signed agreements with the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka to study the impact of hyperloop in the region.