Hyperloop Project Revitalized
A couple of years ago, plans for a next generation transportation technology called the Hyperloop were revealed by Elon Musk. This new invention would transport passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in under 30 minutes. The Hyperloop is to utilize a combination of air blades and a semi-evacuated tube to create incredibly fast travel capabilities. For over a year, the project remained stagnant. It was unknown if Musk created a test model as he made the plans publically available, with a promise not to enforce his trademark on the idea in the hopes that others would take up his idea and develop it.
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One of the first projects to develop the idea further is Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company formed last September. The company will be researching the finance and engineering of the system early this week. The company works with a model that is formed from a network of over one hundred professionals that have experience working in the transportation industry.
Using the JumpStartFund model, each employee will be compensated through a share of the company’s eventual profits. Until the project is complete and profitable, each employee is a volunteer on the project.
Though the project is far from completion, the group has made significant progress in how the finalized system might look. The group has created three models for different classes of Hyperloops across the US; these classes are economy, business, and freight. Each class would obviously have different routes and speeds based on the needs of the customers.
“In the initial white paper, air has the advantage that it’s cheap, but it also has problems with control,” says CEO Dirk Ahlborn. The group is actively looking into other mediums for transport other than air, and if they are cheaper and more efficient, the new medium could be implemented in the design. Powering the Hyperloop with air from fans will make the technology relatively cheap to power. The trans-California route is estimated to cost between $7 and $16 billion dollars to fund after initial financial projections. Musk’s initial price projections were $6 billion dollars, much lower than the current projections.
“The biggest thing for me is the price,” says Ahlborn. “We know it’s not going to cost $50 billion — we know we’re in a range that works.”
Though the project is very ambitious, it is in the price range that is feasible. After remaining relatively stagnant for over a year, the Hyperloop project is finally revitalized.
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Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.