Just over two years ago, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX Elon Musk published a document online called Hyperloop Alpha, proposing a new high-speed, zero emission alternative to long-distance air travel which involved sending passenger and cargo capsules down partially-evacuated elevated air tubes at speeds in excess of 800.
Powered entirely by electromagnetism, Musk’s vision proposed that solar panels mounted along the top of each Hyperloop tube would be more than enough to make Hyperloop travel completely carbon-neutral. Moreover, he posited, Hyperloop would make it possible to travel between major cities like Paris and London or San Francisco and Los Angeles in under thirty minutes. With his existing duties as CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX taking up all of his time however, Musk invited academics and businesses alike the chance to take his original blueprint and improve on it for the betterment of mankind — no strings attached.
Two years later and Hyperloop Technologies Inc. — one of the several firms to attempt to commercialize Musk’s vision — is celebrating some major milestones. Not only has it officially announced former Cisco President Rob Lloyd as its new CEO and former Snapchat COO Emily White as a board member, but it has also confirmed it is currently in the middle of its Round B funding round in which it hopes to raise $80 million.
To celebrate its milestones, the company has just released a professionally-produced YouTube video proclaiming that the Hyperloop is here to stay, complete with plenty of slow-motion shots, inspirational music track, and positive smiles.
Promising speeds of 750 mph, Hyperloop Technologies has taken Musk’s original Hyperloop Alpha proposal and expanded upon it, developing a system which can be used to carry both passenger and cargo at incredible speeds across the world. As the video above shows, the Los Angeles company is even developing a specialized Hyperloop Pod capable of carrying one or two full-size shipping containers inside it.
In an official blog post announcing his appointment as CEO, Rob Lloyd was clear in his reasons for joining the company.
“The Hyperloop vision is compelling and disruptive. Developing the most transformative new mode of transportation that the world has seen in decades will have a profound impact on people, on economies and on how we all live in the future. It doesn’t get any better than that,” he wrote. “The excitement and innovation that the Hyperloop team is driving daily is infectious. I knew I wanted “in” from the first time I visited and watched as the first full size tubes were delivered. I knew at that moment that this was going to be big, this was exciting, this was really happening, and I had to be part of it.”
Comparing the potential the Hyperloop has to change the world of transportation to the way in which the Internet has changed global communication, Lloyd warned that some would try and reject the disruptive nature of the Hyperloop.
“Some people and companies will resist the disruption we will create, just as they did when we talked about carrying all forms of data, voice, video and mobile traffic on the Internet. Their doubts will just make us stronger and more determined,” he wrote. “Hyperloop is the transportation revolution of the 21st century – truly the fifth mode of transport. It will be the most efficient transportation network the world has ever seen. Let’s continue to innovate every day and push boundaries. I am proud to be a part of the future of Hyperloop – lets change the world together.”
Like any new tech startup however, the road ahead for Hyperloop Technologies is long and hard. In addition to proving that its technology does exactly what its CEO says it should on time and on budget, the company will also need to keep itself well-funded until such a point that it is ready for commercial realization.
Then there’s the problem of competition. With Tesla CEO Elon Musk happy for any company to use his Hyperloop Alpha as the basis on which to build any number of competing systems, Hyperloop Technologies is just one of many companies trying to bring the futuristic transportation technology to market.
And while competition is healthy, it’s also going to make it far harder for any one company to find the funding — and the hordes of talented engineering staff it needs — to make Musk’s dream a reality.
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