Why Elon Musk's Hyperloop dream won't be coming to the US any time soon

When Musk first proposed his Hyperloop idea in 2013, he called for it to be built between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But his futuristic tube travel vision will likely be built far from California first.

While a few US companies are currently working on building smaller-scale Hyperloop systems, a track that stretches hundreds of miles and can reach supersonic speeds is more likely to take off first in a developing country in Asia or Africa before the US or Europe, experts tell Business Insider.

“We are more likely to see the emergence of a Hyperloop or some other kind of next generation technology for transportation coming up in places that don’t have a deeply embedded transportation network,” said Jamais Cascio, a fellow at the Institute for the Future.

“The question becomes what are the economics of building out something like the Hyperloop system, will they be better than continuing to use aircraft? My gut sense is it is going to be easier to come up with an energy efficient aircraft than a way of building out an entirely new network cheaply,” he added.

Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), which is one of the US-based companies working on the technology, told Business Insider that even though his company will begin building a five-mile track just outside of Los Angeles, Calif. next year, he will likely grow his business overseas.

Hyperloop Quay ValleyHyperloop Transportation TechnologiesA rendering of what Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will look like in Quay Valley.

Several cities in the Middle East have already expressed interest in being one of the first to get a large Hyperloop system and it’s possible a project in this region could begin as early as 2016, Ahlborn said.

Besides the challenge of trying to uproot existing infrastructure, Hyperloop companies also face more regulatory hurdles and rideaway issues in developed countries like the US.

“It’s obviously easier to do these things in countries that are emerging, that are just coming up than in a city like L.A.,” Ahlborn said. “Rideaway is obviously always a big issue. Even though the Hyperloop has the advantage that it can go along existing rideaway, it’s less invasive, but you still have to convince people to let you on their property.”

While a large-scale Hyperloop system connecting major US cities likely won’t become a reality anytime soon, smaller scale Hyperloop systems carrying passengers within a city may not be that far out.

For example, the five-mile track Ahlborn is building in Quay Valley, Calif. is slated to be finished in 2018 and will be open for use by the public.

“The last invention in personal transport was in the 1950s with the commercial airlines came out and since then it has been more or less the same,” he said. “We are capable of amazing things…There’s a lot to reinvent and I hope that more entrepreneurs are trying to look at that.”

NOW WATCH: The Best Features Of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.