COLUMBUS — Ohio got the first look at the XP-1, a pod designed to travel through metal tubes at speeds in excess of 600 mph, this week.

“Welcome to ‘The Jetsons,’” said Frederic Bertley, president and CEO of COSI, where a nationwide roadshow showcasing the technology kicked off on Sunday. The XP-1 “is the actual first pod in the history of humanity to actively do a hyperloop run.”

The pod — a prototype vehicle designed by Virgin for hyperloop travel — was also displayed at the Statehouse on Monday and made stops in Dublin, Marysville and Lima on Tuesday before leaving the state for Texas. The tour organizers hoped to raise awareness and teach people about hyperloop technology.

Many in Columbus hope the pod returns as part of the proposed “Midwest Connection” route that would link Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh. The route is one of 10 finalists chosen by Virgin Hyperloop One to become the first hyperloop track built in the United States. The world’s first route is to be built in India, where companies are bidding on construction contracts.

“This is something that could be a game-changer,” said Thea Walsh, director of transportation at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, which is spending $2.5 million on a feasibility study.

Walsh said that study, which began in the summer of 2018, is to be finished this fall, as is an environmental impact study. The completion of those reports will put the Columbus line ahead of schedule compared with other finalists.

“That’s what’s giving us a competitive edge,” Walsh said. “Our goal is to be one of the first lines built in the United States by the late 2020s.”

Ryan Kelly, a spokesman for Virgin Hyperloop One, said the tubes the pods travel through create a near-vacuum, reducing “aerodynamic drag” and allowing the pods to reach a maximum speed of 670 mph. A trip from Chicago to Columbus would take 41 minutes. Even at those speeds, the ride in the pressurized pods would be smooth for passengers, he said.

“Although we’re going as fast as a plane, the experience will be more like a ‘metro,’” Kelly said, referring to a subway.

But pods wouldn’t stop at each station like a subway, he said. Although the pods travel in groups, they are not physically connected, allowing for direct travel to the destination without the need for each pod to drop off and pick up passengers at each station.

Kelly said the designers have carefully considered safety measures. If the near-vacuum of the metal tube is disrupted, the result would be only an air leak that slows pod travel. Ultimately, the hyperloop would be safer than flying, Kelly said.

“There’s no predicting the kind of impact this could have,” Kelly said. “We’re at a really exciting time now for transportation.”