Another entrant has just entered the race to build a working Hyperloop and they already have $8.5 million to spend.
Forbes reported late yesterday that Hyperloop Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup headed up by former SpaceX employees and other Silicon Valley veterans, came out of stealth mode late yesterday with plans to make Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Hyperloop dream a reality.
Heading up the effort is former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan (yes, that’s his real name), who now serves as interim CEO, along with venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and a long roster of former Musk associates. Forbes notes that while the startup’s roster is impressive, it’s not even the most impressive thing about it:
Imagine submerged skeins of steel tubes crisscrossing the ocean or up and down the coasts hurtling shipping containers at near supersonic speeds. Need iPhones? Press a button and a container-load is on its way from Shenzhen overnight.
Hyperloop: A Fifth Mode of Transportation
The Hyperloop concept was first presented by Musk in a white paper released in 2013. The idea was to build a new kind of solar-powered, pod-based transportation system that could theoretically carry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. If built, he argued, the technology would provide a safer, cheaper, faster mode of transit far superior to anything currently available.
Of course, as the head of not one, but two companies, Musk said he didn’t have time to build the system himself, noting that if he had the time and resources, he could have the system ready in “one or two years.” Hopeful that someone else could figure out how to make the Hyperloop a reality, Musk published the plans as open source. So far, only two companies—the other being the similarly named Hyperloop Transportation Technologies—have taken up the challenge in earnest.
Mashable notes that the group wants to focus on moving cargo rather than humans for now. They are currently evaluating a plan that would establish a Hyperloop route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. President Obama, among others, has reportedly been briefed on the plans already.
Hyperloop’s First Funded Company
With $8.5 million already in hand, Hyperloop Technologies is well ahead of its competitors in terms of cash raised. According to The Verge, plans are already underway to raise an additional $80 million before the end of the year, with Pishevar saying he is prepared to personally supply up to half of that himself.
The Hyperloop is still considered by some to be nothing more than a billionaire’s fever dream. Funding or not, there are myriad engineering and logistical challenges ahead before we can start sending cargo containers whizzing through the desert at 760 miles per hour. But considering the pedigree of Hyperloop Technologies’ team, there is no doubt that they are in the best position so far to make meaningful progress.
“We have the team, the tools and the technology,” BamBrogan told Forbes. “We can do this.”
Photo Credit: Sam Churchill via Flickr