Transportation that moves close to the speed of sound could be a reality in South Korea before too long. The country’s government-run Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) is working on their own super-speedy Hyperloop-esque train that could travel as fast as 1,000 kilometers per hour, or around 621 miles per hour, and they say it will be ready in the “not-too-distant future.”

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South Korea’s near-supersonic train could rocket travelers between Seoul and Busan, a trip that currently takes about 50 minutes by plane or over five hours on public transportation, in a snappy half hour. A KRRI spokesperson said, “We hope to create an ultra-fast train, which will travel inside a state-of-the-art low-pressure tube at lighting speeds, in the not-too-distant future. To that end, we will cooperate with associated institutes as well as Hanyang University to check the viability of various related technologies called the hyper-tube format over the next three years.”

Related: The U.S. Air Force just smashed the world record for maglev speed

The Korea Times notes that “hyper-tube” technology is akin to the Hyperloop technology first proposed by Elon Musk and currently under development by a couple competing companies. They say the pods rocketing through tubes can fly so fast because there isn’t any friction, that tricky little force slowing regular trains and other traditional forms of transportation. Maglev trains are free of the annoyance of friction, but they still have to battle air resistance.

KRRI said it would work with other institutions to solve drawbacks the Hyperloop currently faces, such as threats from terrorism or natural disasters.

“Many countries such as the United States, Canada, and China are competing to take the lead in this futuristic technology and we will also try to preempt our global rivals,” said the spokesperson.

Via The Korea Times

Images via Korea Railroad Research Institute and Wikimedia Commons