Moscow commute at 1,200 kph & new Silk Road: Russia explores Hyperloop sci-fi dream

Pod in dock ©
Russian company Summa Group signed an agreement on Tuesday with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One to explore building a futuristic, high-speed transport system in Moscow.

"Hyperloop can improve life dramatically for the 16 million people in the greater Moscow area, cutting their commute to a fraction of what it is today," Shervin Pishevar, co-founder of Hyperloop One, was cited as saying by Reuters.

A Hyperloop system involves using magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the floating pods could transport people and cargo at speeds of up to 750 mph (1,200 kph).

The sides also plan to build a new Silk Road to transport cargo at ultra-high speeds between China and the Mediterranean Sea.


"Our longer term vision is to work with Russia to implement a transformative new Silk Road: a cargo Hyperloop that whisks freight containers from China to Europe in a day," Pishevar said.

According to Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd, it’s unclear how much it will cost to build a Hyperloop in Moscow, and the system would not necessarily travel at its top speed in a metropolitan area like the Russian capital. Last month Lloyd said the company will build a system capable of transporting cargo by 2019 and passengers by 2021.

READ MORE: Russia wants Hyperloop for super-fast transport in Far East, seeks Chinese funds

Transportation infrastructure developer Summa Group and Hyperloop One signed a memorandum of understanding last week at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pishevar during the forum and expressed his support for the project. The president’s backing though didn’t mean public fund investments and tax breaks because it’s a private investment project, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Hyperloop was first proposed in 2013 by US billionaire Elon Musk as an up-to-date, open-sourced concept.

At the moment there are no functioning Hyperloops in the world, and skeptics claim the idea of traveling at such high speeds in a sealed tube seems like a sci-fi dream – with many challenges the designers will have to overcome, such as motion sickness.

Hyperloop feasibility studies are underway in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Dubai, the Port of Los Angeles, and the United Kingdom.