High-speed transportation company Hyperloop One, which landed $US85 million in additional funding last month, revealed today that it has gained a new board member in business magnate Richard Branson, whose Virgin group was secretly responsible for an unnamed portion of that funding. The company will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One.
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The morning commute across Manhattan on Thursday was a typical-as-of-late snarl of bottlenecks and delays, with debris of unknown origins causing an oppressive backup of the city's subway system. It was the latest in a string of examples of the deteriorating, century-old system, another sign of the significant level of investment that's needed to bring the subway up to 21st century standards and efficiency.
Though it was an otherwise unsurprising morning, I'm mentioning it because, several hundred miles away, as New Yorkers endured another annoying trek around town through a system of the past, a theoretical, futuristic solution to public transit woes in the U.S. -- the Hyperloop -- took another small-step toward coming to fruition. But, alluring as it is, the vacuum transit system remains a long-shot -- even with 10 possible routes now on the table.
Yesterday, in the US capital, I spent two hours in a beautiful fantasy. A world where the usual constraints of time and space don't apply, where almost everyone in the fractured American nation is connected, closer than ever, united by technology. No, I wasn't smoking weed, though it's legal here: I was at the Hyperloop Showcase, where staff at Hyperloop One and those competing to work with the startup came together to sell the company's Vision for America.
Where will the first Hyperloop be? So far there are plans to use the tubular transportation system to move passengers in Slovakia and freight in Switzerland. But a proposed application for the Hyperloop announced today could solve a transportation conundrum that has been challenging planners for centuries: Connecting the neighbouring nations of Sweden and Finland.
Hyperloop is maybe almost possibly here! But which hyperloop company did that thing this week? And what kind of technology is it using? Does it work? Most importantly, when are we getting one? We have all the answers for you, right here.