For the past eight years, I've spent countless hours driving the 5 from Oakland to Los Angeles and back again. And for what seems as many years, I've been promised that one day the technology will exist to beam me Star Trek-style from the Bay Area to SoCal in an hour or less. Needless to say, I'm skeptical. But now, it seems like that time has finally come thanks to Hyperloop One.
The mythical Hyperloop (as dreamed up by Elon Musk) is a futuristic transportation system that works on magnetic levitation to carry people or cargo at 750 miles an hour in comfortable pods. You'll get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in as little as 30 minutes. It would be a complete game changer.
Now enter, Hyperloop One, a San Francisco-based start up founded by early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar and Brogan BamBrogan, a former SpaceX engineer. On Tuesday, the 150-person company announced $80 million Series B round of financing, as well as a series of partnerships with global leaders in industries such as transportation, engineering, architecture, passenger and freight economics, and tunneling. In total, the company has now raised $100 million.
(Courtesy of Hyperloop)
The funding news came one day ahead of a big test of Hyperloop One's technology, which went down Tuesday, May 11 in the desert outside Las Vegas. A roughly 10-foot sled containing the propulsion motor lurched forward (a sign that indicated the engine starting) then zoomed by at 116 miles an hour. Hyperloop One drove it into a pool of sand to stop it (that's the giant spray of dust at the end of the video), as the company hasn't yet built brakes for the contraption.
So what does it all mean? The funding and test are important steps in Hyperloop One's mission to build a fully operational hyperloop system by 2020.
By the end of this year, Hyperloop One plans to build and test a complete hyperloop, including the tube, pod and the computer that pilots the pod. That pod should travel about 700 miles an hour. Still, there's the small matter of price that needs to be considered. The price tag for a working San Francisco to Los Angeles Hyperloop system could top $6 billion.
My unending gratitude to whomever decides to foot that bill.