Imagine shooting like a bullet from San Francisco to Los Angeles in only 30 minutes, zipping at just below the speed of sound through a steel vacuum tube, strapped into a spacey aluminum pod. Buh-bye traffic. Hello, Hyperloop.
Yes, that Hyperloop – the crazy one Elon Musk proposed as the “fifth mode of transport” back in August 2013 but had no time to realize. (The former PayPal Mafia member was too busy sweating artificial intelligence and making history at the helm of SpaceX and Tesla. Give the guy a break.)
Now, thanks to 100 of some of the world’s smartest engineers and designers, Musk’s Jetson-esque Hyperloop vision isn’t forever on the backburner. The dream team is now officially clocking hours for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. [HTT], a unique JumpStartFund collaborative that formed back in September. Its express mission is to rise to the challenge laid out in Musk’s 57-page Hyperloop whitepaper.
The company yesterday released several documents detailing its ambitious plans moving forward. On top of needing to raise an estimated $16 billion to bring a commercially viable operation to fruition, the brains at HTT certainly have their work cut out for them. There are plenty of tricky physics, funding, construction and legal roadblocks assured ahead.
Still, HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn says the high-speed, solar-powered transport could become a reality in the next decade or so. If you regularly brave the almost 400-mile drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles -- and a lot of commuters do -- that’s not soon enough. The Hyperloop could get you there at a brisk 760 mph, in the length of a typical yoga class, in theory at least. And it won’t be terribly expensive. It’s expected to cost around only $30 per quick trip.
An L.A.-to-SanFran Hyperloop trip isn’t likely geographically and politically feasible, though, so HTT engineers are looking into alternate routes. Vegas, anyone? Los Angeles to Sin City might be a more attractive first route. Wherever the Hyperloop eventually debuts, yes, please, sign us up for a first ride.