Hyperloop Technologies is on track to make tube travel happen in 2016.
The idea of ultra-high-speed transportation pods moving through low-pressure tubes sounded far out in 2013, when Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X first showed preliminary designs of the concept. But now, Hyperloop Technologies says it’s on track to make it happen in 2016.
In 2013, Elon Musk introduced the idea of the Hyperloop: a series of passenger pods traveling through vacuum tubes at speeds of over 500 miles per hour. The Hyperloop would effectively make the world a smaller place, where long-distance travel is no longer synonymous with exhausting hours of discomfort.
In November 2015, LA-based startup Hyperloop Technologies announced at Web Summit in Dublin that another $26 million has been added to the company’s second round of funding; meeting its total goal of $80 million by the end of 2015. With this addition, the company is on track to accelerate its original plans, building a test system capable of sending pods, if not yet humans, whizzing along at 400 miles per hour, CEO Rob Lloyd told the Web Summit audience.
Separately, Hyperloop Technologies board member Peter Diamandis has said that the company’s first commercial system could be in place as soon as 2020, perhaps in the United Arab Emirates, where it would collapse a two-hour minimum drive between Dubai and Abu Dhabi into a breezy 15-minute commute.
The influx of funding and interest around the Hyperloop is perhaps the clearest sign yet that Silicon Valley, rather than government, is taking the lead on building the infrastructure of the future. “There is a global movement that seems to be happening that says we want something different and we believe that Hyperloop can be part of the solution in the future,” Hyperloop Technologies CEO Rob Lloyd told Tech Insider.
For more on tech’s embrace of grand public projects and other trends for 2016, check Trend Reports for our forthcoming Future 100 2016 report.