The hyperloop system works by pushing specifically designed capsules or pods through a steel tube maintained at a partial vacuum. Each pod floats on a minute bed of air under pressure and is able to reach a top speed of 1220km/h – meaning a travel time from Los Angeles to San Francisco in around 30 minutes.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, first talked about a concept for a “fifth mode of transport", which he called Hyperloop, in July 2012 at a PandoDaily event in Southern California.
Musk, though not officially involved in the Hyperloop organisation, outlined the key properties of what he wanted in a theoretical high-speed transportation system: cars that don’t crash, immunity to weather, an average speed twice that of a domestic jetliner, low power and the ability to store electricity for 24-hour services.
Interestingly, Musk is not a director, nor is he listed as a board member of Hyperloop Technologies. Instead, the company is co-chaired by venture capitalist and Uber financier Shervin Pishevar and Musk’s former PayPal COO, David Sacks. The board includes X Prize Foundation Chairman Peter Diamandis and President Obama’s former campaign boss, Jim Messina.
Additionally, the drive to develop Hyperloop’s real-world technology is being led by former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan.
So far, the company has raised over $28 million of the reported $80 million it needs to build an 8-kilometre Hyperloop test track.