If you were to scroll down the official website of Hyperloop One, promising phrases, such as ‘welcome to the future’, ‘be anywhere. move anything. connect everyone’, ‘the future is happening’, ‘team of the future’ would definitely catch your eye. Yet, these promises are not just ambiguous promises and events that took place this week confirm the official start of the transportation revolution.
Behind The Big Idea
Hyperloop is a revolutionary transportation system that is set to transport goods and people at a very high speed and low cost. Elon Musk, whose concern about transportation has arisen from his weekly 5-hour drive from Tesla to SpaceX headquarters, was the first to put the concept forward. His vision for Hyperloop is no less purposeful than for SpaceX or Tesla: transportation that never crashes and uses electricity as opposed to high-density fuels. The fifth mode of transportation that makes Los Angeles – San Francisco 5-hour trip become a 45 – minute one.
After the public outline of the revolutionary concept, Hyperloop One was founded. The main focus of the startup is to have Hyperloop system fully integrated by 2020. With a visionary team of 127 people and confirmed partnerships with AMBERG Group, AECOM, ARUP, ARCTURAN SUSTAINABLE CARGO, Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting, the company has recently closed its Series B round of funding. With the successful closure, Hyperloop One has secured $80 million from the following investors: 8VC, Khosla Ventures, Fast Digital, Sherpa Ventures, ZhenFund and Caspian Venture Partners. This brings the startup’s funding to date to $100 million.
Propulsion test in Nevada by Hyperloop One
After new series of funding, the first public test of a part of a working system took place in the Nevada dessert. The proof of concept was validated to some extent when a metal sled reached 116 mph (187 km/h), demonstrating the system’s capability to reaching a speed of about 600 mph, which is close to the startup’s set speed goal.
Whilst the public demonstration may have been planned with a purpose to get press releases and the hype around Hyperloop One after the $80 million funding, it is almost evident that the technology has its potential to accelerate very quickly. Consequently, the tension between Hyperloop One and its main rival Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is heating up. When Hyperloop One confirmed its contribution to feasibility studies on the benefits of the technology in the social and economic contexts, HTT signed a licensing deal for passive magnetic levitation. It seems that Hyperloop One focuses on validation of potential route linking Sweden and Finland, whereas HTT focuses in on potential routes in Slovakia. The competition is not only about building the technology faster than the rival but also overcoming the environmental, social and economical obstacles when necessary.
The futuristic society in terms of travelling
If mechanical parts containing wheels will be obsolete due to magnetic levitation and the land rights, bureaucracy, air flowing systems, decompression and a number of engineering feats, are behind, the new transportation era begins. It is speculated that flying will be not relevant due to its huge energy consumption, long waiting times and the need to pre-book. Hyperloop itself can be compared to a plane in terms of pressure. Yet, hyperloop will eliminate all the flying complications: passengers will get to Hyperloop stations, purchase the tickets and will be able to start their trip within minutes.
Lastly, the revolutionary startup Hyperloop One is truly about changing the transportation and making a major breakthrough. We may have heard a million startups claiming to be disrupting the current services and shaping a new future, but this particular example backed by the major industry players is truly the one to be called a disruption.
Written by Kamile Kaselyte
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