A new crowdfunded start-up hopes to transform Elon Musk’s visionary transportation concept into a reality.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. (HTT) was unveiled last week via crowdfunding platform JumpStartFund as the vehicle through which Musk’s radical vision for long-distance transportation will undergo initial development
HTT’s founders are using the California-based crowdfunding platform to raise seed capital from the general public for the development of the visionary project.
Much scepticism has greeted Musk’s vision of commuter pods hurtling through low-pressure pneumatic tubes at speeds in excess of 1000 kilometres per hour as the next paradigm-changing advance in land-based transportation.
Former head of the American Society Civil Engineers and HTT-cofounder Dr Patricia Galloway remains highly confident, however, that the plan can be readily transformed into a reality.
“The feasibility is done," said Galloway to Fox News. “What we’re working on now is moving towards a conceptual design.”
Galloway believes that the Hyperloop is destined to have a transformative impact on inter-regional travel in America.
“It’s similar to what the Concorde did for air transport,” she said. “This will revolutionize how we transport people from city-to-city.”
Joining Galloway on the project is fellow co-founder Dr. Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for Musk’s SpaceX firm – the world’s first private spaceflight company.
While HTT's founders are two of the most prominent figures in the engineering field, and Villa isalso one of Musk's closest associates, a spokeswoman from SpaceX has said that Musk has not specifically endorsed the company, although he has wished them well in their endeavours.
In addition to funding provided by enthused members of the public, HTT is also leveraging the invaluable connections provided by its founders to obtain vital resources and expertise for the project.
These include a partnership with material science development firm GloCal Network Corp, the design support of the UCLA Architecture and Urban design department, and a deal with ANSYS for computer simulation resources to determine overall feasibility.
Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of JumpStartFund, said the use of the crowdfunding platform could play a vital role in both drumming up further public attention and drawing the interest of leading players in the tech industry.
“Several engineering companies have contacted us and said, we have done our preliminary reviews and this seems completely doable and we don’t see any issues, “ Ahlborn said.
Musk has been drumming up media attention for the Hyperloop for much of the past year, and released a white paper in August which outlined his vision for the project in greater detail.
The Hyperloop involves the use of pneumatic, low pressure tubes to sling sleek commuter pods across vast distances at immense speeds. Individual pods would float on a cushion of air and be propelled by electromagnets, attaining speeds of up to 1,300 kilometres per hour.
HTT’s development schedule includes the release in March of an updated whitepaper outlining the construction of a prototype, with the potential completion of a working model by as early as the end of 2014.