In just a few years, we might be traveling around California in 700 mph hyperloop pods, if a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has its way. The Los Angeles-based startup has filed for permits to start constructing a hyperloop test track in California’s Quay Valley. Their goal: to develop the technology and plans required for a high speed hyperloop system by 2018.

The hyperloop, which was first conceptualized by Elon Musk in 2013, would be a revolutionary new mass transportation system. Low pressure tubes would shoot passenger pods hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes. The technology mirrors the pneumatic tubes used to transport messages in hospitals: the pods would hover above the floor of the tube, and travel with minimal resistance at breathtaking speeds.

Though Hyperloop Transportation envisions a world connected by a massive network of interconnected tubes, the primary goal, at the moment, is to build a tube system connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. If successfully built, the company claims the hyperloop system could would reduce travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco to just half an hour and revolutionize mass transportation on the same level as the railroad or the airplane.

But Hyperloop Transportation Technologies isn’t the only company working on a prototype: According to The Verge, SpaceX is launching a hyperloop pod design competition, which begins next week. Winners will receive $50,000 and an internship with Hyperloop Technologies Inc., another California start-up working on developing a workable system.

It may sound thoroughly sci-fi, and there are certainly a lot of logistical and technological challenges to overcome. But there is currently a great deal of money and effort being poured into making the hyperloop a reality. Check out the Engadget video below for a quick overview on the future of the high-tech transportation system.

[h/t: ABC, The Verge, Engadget]