While the hyperloop is glimmering on the horizon set to revolutionise transport and the geography of cities, there's one thing that's still keeping it firmly stuck on the horizon - cost.
Requiring new infrastructure that would need to carve out new routes across existing roads, billions of dollars would be needed to get it off the ground, even though the technology is almost ready for deployment.
READ: Everything you’ve wanted to know about the hyperloop
One young future scientist, however, is wowing the world with her simple alternative design to the sci-fi transport system - and she's only 13 years old.
Caroline Crouchley from Long Island, New York, came in second place at the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her idea to attach existing trains to the hyperloop's pneumatic tubes and pods, keeping passengers outside of the low-pressure vacuum tubes, reports CNBC. She was beaten to the first prize by another girl who invented a nanoparticle liquid bandage that could potentially replace antibiotics.
Crouchley's main criticism of Elon Musk's hyperloop is the expense and safety issues - while the train in her design won't reach the same speeds as the hyperloop, it will still go faster than the US's fastest train using renewable energy - and it can be built on top of existing rail networks.
The tubes will be built next to the train tracks, with the train attached to a shuttle inside the pneumatic tube via a magnetic connector arm. While there are some flaws with this initial design, Crouchley is currently upgrading her plans where the tube runs instead underneath the trains.
WATCH: This is what a Hyperloop station might look like in the future
You can see more about the design below:
In a country like South Africa, an alternative transport system that uses existing infrastructure sounds a lot more plausible - even if we won't have the dream of travelling between Cape Town and Johannesburg in an hour.
See more facts about the hyperloop below: