Hyperloop One, the futuristic tech company that intended to zip passengers from city to city through giant tubes at lightning-fast speeds, will permanently shut down. According to Bloomberg News, it is selling off its assets, laying off all remaining workers, and preparing to close its final office, in North Las Vegas, before this year ends.
A rendering of a hyperloop system provided by Hyperloop One. (Image: Hyperloop One)
Since its 2014 founding, as Hyperloop Technologies, Hyperloop One had raised more than $450M, mostly from United Arab Emirates shipping company DP World and from British billionaire Richard Branson, upon which it changed its name to Virgin Hyperloop One.
For a while, the company’s future appeared promising. It completed the world’s first passenger ride on a super high-speed levitating pod system in 2020, for example. However, the company’s failure to win any contract to build a working hyperloop system had doomed it, according to the Bloomberg‘s report.
Hyperloop One already closed its Los Angeles headquarters in January, after cutting nearly half its 200-person staff in early 2022. Virgin also removed its branding last year, when the startup focused on moving cargo instead of people.
End of an Era?
Workers at Hyperloop One unload part of a pod at their testing lab in North Las Vegas. (Image: Hyperloop One)
While a small number of companies still intend to try building hyperloops — including Elon Musk’s the Boring Company — none are nearly as far along as Hyperloop One was.
In what is known as his “alpha paper,” Musk wrote in 2013 that aerodynamic aluminum capsules, packed with passengers or cargo, could achieve speeds of up to 760 mph passing through vacuum tubes devoid of air resistance.
The Space-X founder called it a “fifth mode of transportation” that could change the way we live, work, trade, and travel.
This tech is what most people had in mind when Musk announced his Vegas Loop, claiming that it would whisk passengers below the congested streets of Las Vegas at speeds of up to 155 mph.
However, the Boring Company’s current system of tunnels below Sin City only move people at a reported average speed of 25 mph using conventional Teslas.
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