Ever since Elon Musk unveiled open-source plans for the Hyperloop transport system, people have been trying to make it work. The project just got one step closer to reality as the crowdsourcing platform JumpStartFund just launched a new company dedicated to developing a prototype of the Hyperloop. The company claims that it can produce a working system within the decade, with construction starting as soon as next year. That company has been busy at work creating concepts, addressing problems and looking into future investments that could bring the exciting project closer to reality.
The Hyperloop works using magnets and fans to push trains on a cushion of air through a series of pipes to get from one location to another. JumpStartFund CEO Dirk Ahlborn stated that his company plans to start construction next year and the company doesn’t intend to let anything stand in its way. Ahlborn explained that if a route from Los Angeles to San Francisco doesn’t work, they will consider one from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. If political blockades and red-tape get in the way, they will take the system abroad. At any rate, the plan to have an actual working system in place within the next 10 years.
While talking to Wired, Ahlborn said that he expects people will be extremely interested in funding the concept once it has been proven. “I have no doubt that once we are finished, once we know how we are going to build and it makes economic sense, that we will get the funds,” he said. Once constructed, the system could theoretically be capable of moving people at speeds over 700 mph, meaning that a person could potentially travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a mere 30 minutes. Hyperloop routes would need to be fairly straight to help avoid the impact of high g-forces, but it could completely change the way people travel, which has led to the project being called the “fifth mode of transportation.”
The Hyperloop team includes people with day jobs at places like NASA, SpaceX and Boeing and a brilliant group of UCLA students. The team revealed their most recent progress to Wired – including a transportation map with the imagined routes criss-crossing the US. The team also explained that they have refined the capsules, creating an interior “bubble” for passengers rather than the upward-lifting doors that Musk originally imagined. People sit in the bubble and then it enters an outer shell which is then loaded into the tube. The team also plans to offer a business class, economy class and freight class reminiscent of air travel. Stations would have a robot that would handle luggage in addition to lobbies with shopping, food, rentable tablets and, of course, toilets. The issue of building pylons and the low-pressure tube have been solved, but now the team is working on the next challenge: moving the capsules within the tube.
Images via JumpStartFund