Fresh off its successful working concept test run in the Vegas desert on Wednesday, transportation tech startup Hyperloop One announced it has achieved its funding goal for the next stage of product testing and will complete the project before the end of the year.
Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles company working to develop the futuristic transportation technology, on Tuesday announced the closing of $80 million in financing and said it plans to conduct a full system test before the end of the year.
A hyperloop would whisk passengers and cargo in pods through a low pressure tube at speeds of up to 750 miles per hour (1,207 km per hour).
Maglev technology would levitate the pods to reduce friction in the city-to-city system, which would be fully autonomous and electric powered.
Hyperloop One builds off a design by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has suggested it would be cheaper, faster and more efficient than high speed rail projects, including the one currently being built in California.
Speaking on the eve of the first demonstration test of the propulsion in the Las Vegas desert, Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd tried to dispel criticism that the technology is unproven and better suited for science fiction than practical use.
"It's real, it's happening now, and we're going to demonstrate how this company is making it happen," he said at a press conference.
He likened hyperloop technology to the emergence of the U.S. railroad system and the era of prosperity it ushered in.
Lloyd also announced a competition to determine where the first Hyperloop One system should be built, with an announcement expected next year.
If you'll excuse the obvious pun, I thought the project was a pipe dream (or very large tube dream, anyway). Securing the technology was never the real challenge, the challenge was building the tracks on what would become the most ambitious transportation project in human history, but it looks like for now that Hyperloop will be limited to short cargo runs for now.
The dream of a national hyperloop system is still decades out in the future, and given that America is already tens of billions behind in working infrastructure like water, bridges, roads and power grids, a giant series of tubes really can't be that high on the list right now.
Besides, by the time this gets built, a whole lot of coastal land is going to be underwater. We have bigger projects to be worrying about.