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Hyperloop pens deal that could connect Slovakia, Austria and Hungary

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced Thursday that it has signed an agreement with the government of the Slovak Republic to “explore” building a hyperloop system that connects Bratislava with Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.

“Slovakia is a technological leader in the automotive, material science, and energy industries, many of the areas that are integral to the Hyperloop system,” said Dirk Ahlborn, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO. “Having a European Hyperloop presence will incentivize collaboration and innovation within Slovakia and throughout Europe.”

If you’re surprised to read that Slovakia is considered an automotive tech leader, you shouldn’t be; the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne are assembled there. And, of course, let’s not forget the AeroMobile flying car, which is also from Slovakia.

At full speed, the Bratislava-to-Vienna trip would only take about eight minutes, according to Hyperloop. By comparison, that same trip by car today would take just shy of an hour.

More than simply moving people quickly between international cities, a Slovakian Hyperloop hub could open the door to the rest of Europe for the fledgling transportation technology.

When Mashable pressed Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn on a timeline for the Slovakian Hyperloop system, he said it could happen “fairly quick.” However, he was unwilling to give an exact timeline because many factors need to fall into place before breaking ground.

These factors include deciding where to build the Hyperloop line and getting the “numbers together,” Ahlborn said. Additionally, he’ll also sit down with European Union and the Slovakia Investment Fund to finalize details.

So while a European Hyperloop might not be right around the corner, at least this deal signifies it’s on the horizon.