Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has begun construction of the world’s first full-scale Passenger Hyperloop™ Capsule. HTT is one of a handful of startups that have been working toward developing the concept – a mode of passenger and freight transportation capable of propelling a pod-shaped vehicle through a vacuum-like tube. SpaceX, the company that conceived the idea in 2012, describes the concept as the “fifth mode of transportation.”

Construction is underway for delivery and the official reveal will be in early 2018 at HTT’s R&D center in Toulouse, France.  The capsule will then be utilized in a commercial system that will also be announced soon.  The capsule is 30 meters (98.5 feet) long, 2.7 meters (9 feet) wide. It weighs 20 tons, can hold 28-40 passenger and can reach speeds up to 760 mph.

HTT’s passenger capsule is being built in collaboration with Carbures S.A., a technological industrial group that specializes in the manufacturing of composite parts and structures, including fuselages for Airbus and Boeing.

“Carbures is a consolidated leader in the structural composites world with over 15 years of experience,” said HTT Board Member Ramón Betolaza. “With over 1000 employees, eight manufacturing plants and five engineering centers, they are the perfect partner for HTT.”

HTT adds that Carbures’ global positioning is well placed for the growing number of regions, including France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates, which are working with HTT to develop Hyperloop™ systems.

Eleven months ago, HTT announced the capsule will be made with a carbon fiber composite material, dubbed “Vibranium” after the fictional material used to protect Captain America. Hyperloop collaborated with Slovakian materials firm c2i on the composite, which will cover the inside and outside of its capsules.

In addition to the startup companies working to develop Hyperloop pods, students from all over the world are creating designs. This year, SpaceX hosted the first ever Hyperloop Competition Weekend – a test among university students at 30 universities around the world to produce the best possible prototype of a Hyperloop pod. The winning design came from a Dutch university that also incorporated carbon fiber composites as the main structural elements. That design will be featured in next month’s edition of Composites Manufacturing.