For anyone who has been stuck in the parking lot known as the California Highway system, the Hyperloop is a dream come true. Yet the hurdles, both political and financial, seem insurmountable, but at least one determined group, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), continues to plow forward in an effort to accomplish the moonshot project. The Hyperloop was popularized by iconic entrepreneur Elon Musk who touted it as the future of transportation. Musk’s companies are not developing a commercial Hyperloop but they are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype. For this reason, SpaceX has announced an open competition, geared towards independent engineering teams, to design and build the best Hyperloop pod.
HTT states that it has now topped 400 “core team members” while adding “key industry partners” to aid in the project. This latest announcement welcomes companies like Oerlikon, AECOM, and Hodgetts & Fung, all of whom are said to be providing key technological and infrastructure support to HTT as they head towards a scheduled groundbreaking in May 2016 in Quay Valley, California.
“Our team continues to grow and, along with these new alliances, is representative of the collaborative spirit of HTT and are key to our success in breaking ground in 2016,” said Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of HTT. “We receive applications from professionals and are approached industry leading companies everyday.”
Dr. Martin Fuellenbach, CEO of Oerlikon – a “pioneer” in vacuum tech, said they were proud to be a part of the project and want to see the Hyperloop vision become reality. “We contribute in delivering our extensive expertise, as well as the necessary calculations and technology to create and maintain the partial vacuum that is needed to reach such high speeds.”
“HTT’s technology is very exciting and could have a significant impact on transportation infrastructure in the future,” stated Andrew Liu, Vice President of New Ventures at AECOM said. “AECOM is the industry’s leading engineering design firm, and HTT’s approach to addressing transportation challenges is consistent with our focus on delivering innovative solutions that positively impact the communities we serve.”
HTT was founded in November 2013, using JumpStartFund: a crowdfunded and crowdsourced platform that uses collective knowledge and collective assets. According to HTT, they have structured weekly minimum commitments for its members. Individuals have received stock options in exchange for their participation. A feasibility study was completed in December of 2014 and HTT states it has received a necessary easement for the first 5 mile, full scale, transport system. While that may not seem like much. It is a start.
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