Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which has received far less fanfare then its similarly named competitor Virgin Hyperloop (née Hyperloop One), today announced a joint venture with a German logistics and transportation company that runs container terminals. Together the two companies will bring HTT’s technology to the Port of Hamburg. Which is to say, the first real use of a hyperloop will be to move freight around a shipyard. Not terribly sexy!
Of course, this was always going to be the first use case for this still largely untested transportation method. While many hyperloop hopefuls, including Tesla CEO and all-around loud tech guy Elon Musk, have been pushing the idea that hyperloops could make travel across large distances into a trivial commute, the more immediate reality is that hyperloop technology will be used to make shipping and logistics more efficient.
Unlike that of its more traditional competitor, HTT’s development has been crowdsourced from over 800 collaborators; workers volunteer hours in exchange for equity. In April, HTT began work on a 320-meter track in Toulouse, France, which will ultimately carry both freight and people. It also has plans for a 1,000-meter track in 2019. The first installment of the Port of Hamburg track will be a 100-mile cargo route that will shuttle freight in a capsule.
Meanwhile, Virgin Hyperloop has conducted a series of tests at its Nevada track. It also signed a commitment with Saudi Arabia to bring its technology to the region.