Elon Musk– the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX– is the king of pushing the limits. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that Musk was considering another wild startup project late last year. The project, known as the Hyperloop, was a proposed futuristic transportation system that would launch people to their destinations at 800 miles per hour in a pod that shot through an above-ground tube. Musk was so serious about the project that he even released a 57 page plan on the public.
Unfortunately, though, Musk soon dropped out of the project as he needed to dedicate the majority of his time to his other two start-ups (because, you know, exploring space is pretty time consuming).
This dropout, however, did not kill the project. Instead, an El Segundo, California-based company known as Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (which is actually a SpaceX subsidiary) has taken on the challenge of building Musk’s Hyperloop.
Using JumpStartFund (which relies on both crowd funding and crowd sourcing), the new company has brought together one hundred of the country’s sharpest engineers– many of which work at companies NASA, Boeing, etc.– to develop the project during their free time.
So far, they are just in the planning and study faze of the operation, as they are testing and tinkering with the technologies that Elon Musk has already developed while choosing the different routes that they want to pursue (see the image below).
“We want to find the best possible way to make this work,” says CEO Dirk Ahlborn. “I have almost no doubt that once we are finished, once we know how we are going to build and it makes economical sense, that we will get the funds.”
How much money will they need to raise? Well, according to an estimate put together by Musk himself, constructing a 400 mile stretch of the Hyperloop will cost about $6-10 billion. This will help to cover the three main components of the Hyperloop, which include:
- The Route- The long stretches of tubed track will be above ground and will need to be as straight as possible because “Like in a plane, high speeds alone don’t lead to nausea, but if you start turning, you feel the g-forces.”
- The Capsules- These “bubbles” will feature an outer shell and get loaded in to the tubes. The outer shell of the capsules are built to handle the ride and will feature an air compressor and other needed tools.
- The Stations- These areas will essentially be the same as an airport, only faster. They will feature security and shopping centers for those waiting on their ride.
As we all know, there have been a million projects out there similar to this one, but with Musk’s backing and some of the world’s best engineers on board, this one may just be here sooner than later.