2016 is gearing up to be the year of the hyperloop train, as Hyperloop Technologies renames itself Hyperloop One after closing $80m in Series B funding and launching a new international location competition.
Since the concept of the hyperloop train, which travels at incredibly high speeds within a vacuum tube, was first mooted, private companies have been looking into how to develop the idea commercially, most notably, Hyperloop Technologies.
The company has now closed $80m in Series B funding, as well as taking the decision to rename itself Hyperloop One to distance itself from its similar-sounding rival, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT).
Competition heats up
According to TechCrunch, much of this funding originated from the company’s original line of venture capital funds and investors, including Sherpa Ventures, EightVC, ZhenFund and Caspian Venture Partners.
However, it has also added a number of other new firms to its thank-you card list, including 137 Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Fast Digital and Western Technology Investment (WTI), with perhaps the most stand-out investor being SNCF, France’s national rail company.
The expansion of hyperloop technology – which could potentially cut continental trips by several hours – has been rapid from the beginning of last year, with news coming out only last month that HTT had agreed in principle to build a hyperloop system in Slovakia in the near future.
First propulsion system test
Going back to Hyperloop One, however, the newly-funded company has revealed its building towards its first ‘Kitty Hawk moment’ with today’s scheduling of the first test of its propulsion system on a track just outside the heart of Las Vegas, Nevada.
In a statement announcing the funding, the company’s co-founder, Shervin Pishevar, said: “The overwhelming response we’ve had already confirms what we’ve always known, that Hyperloop One is at the forefront of a movement to solve one of the planet’s most pressing problems.
“The brightest minds are coming together at the right time to eliminate the distances and borders that separate economies and cultures.”
— HyperloopOne (@HyperloopOne) May 11, 2016
The details were also revealed for a competition called the Hyperloop One Global Challenge.
According to its description, the competition invites teams anywhere on Earth to put forward a comprehensive commercial, transport, economic, and policy case for their cities, regions, or countries to be considered to host the first hyperloop networks.
So, here’s hoping someone in Ireland can put forward a case for one of our major cities!