Los Angeles engineering and design firm AECOM will build the test track for SpaceX's forthcoming Hyperloop pod design contest.
The company, which announced its selection by SpaceX on Tuesday, plans to construct a one-mile, above-ground track adjacent to SpaceX's campus in Hawthorne, California.
The project will consist of steel tubes six feet in diameter and a non-magnetic sub-track. Design efforts are already underway and construction is expected to begin this spring.
“AECOM has designed and built some of the world’s most impressive transportation systems, so we appreciate how the development of a functioning Hyperloop with SpaceX can dramatically expand the ways people move across cities, countries and continents,” said AECOM Chairman and CEO Michael S. Burke.
A Hyperloop would move passengers seated in pods through a vacuum-sealed tube using a system of fans and magnets powered by solar energy.
With almost no air resistance, the pods could move at speeds of about 750 miles per hour — or fast enough to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in half an hour.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk outlined plans for the Hyperloop in 2013. He does not intend to commercialize the idea, but said that other companies should build on his plans.
Last summer, Musk announced that SpaceX would hold a contest for teams of university students or independent engineers to design the pods. About 100 teams are expected to compete in the contest this weekend at Texas A&M University.
The winning designs are expected to be tested on the AECOM track at the end of this summer.
Meanwhile, two unaffiliated companies — Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. and Hyperloop Technologies Inc. — are developing their own test tracks in central California and North Las Vegas, respectively.