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The first “hyperloop,” a concept for an ultra-fast underground transportation system, popularized by Elon Musk, is closer than you think and it may not be coming from Elon Musk’s Boring company.
Officials in the Indian state of Maharastra announced last month that they will be taking bids for what could be the first hyperloop project. Sir Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One could win the contract, and has been named the Original Project Proponent by the state.
“This is history in the making. The race is on to host the first hyperloop transportation system in the world, and today’s announcement puts India firmly in the lead,” Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder said in a statement.
Virgin Hyperloop One and Musk's Boring Company are both developing hyperloop transportation.
Interest in ultra-fast underground transportation piqued when Tesla’s (TSLA) Elon Musk published a concept in 2013. Musk outlines a system that involves a magnetically-propelled pod that carries passengers through a low-pressure tube at up to 700 miles per hour.
Despite the similarities, Walder says the two companies are like apples and oranges.
“Boring Company is really focused on carrying a few people in a vehicle. We see our vehicle as a vehicle for the masses,” Walder says. “We want to carry many, many people in what we're doing. Maybe they integrate at some point, but we're completely separate.”
The Virgin Hyperloop is taking its test pods stateside as well. Virgin will show off its XP-1 pods on a roadshow that will hit Ohio, Kansas and Texas over the next few months.
“We're bringing Hyperloop to America. It's a great opportunity for people to be able to get a sense of what hyperloop could be, to be able to talk about what it means,” Walder says. “So it allows us to completely reimagine the way that we knit cities together, the way we knit places together.”
If the Hyperloop comes to cities across the U.S., Walder says it could reshape the cities of the future.
Bridgette Webb is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @bridgetteAwebb.