Hyperloop One (called Virgin Hyperloop One since the end of 2017) is an American company in Los Angeles, California, that is working to commercialize the Hyperloop for moving passengers and/or cargo at airline speeds at a fraction of the cost of air travel. The concept of Hyperloop transportation was introduced and named by Elon Musk in August 2013, although he is not involved with Hyperloop One or any other company developing Hyperloop.
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, Calif.|
Number of employees
|280 (Q2 2017)|
The Hyperloop uses a linear electric motor to accelerate and decelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle will glide silently for miles at speeds up to 670 mph (1080 km/h) with no turbulence. The system is designed to be entirely autonomous, quiet, direct-to-destination, and on-demand. Additionally, as Hyperloop is built on columns or tunneled underground, it eliminates the dangers of at-grade crossings and requires much smaller rights of way than high-speed rail or a highway. Hyperloop One has made substantive technical changes to Musk's initial proposal and chose not to pursue the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles route that Musk envisioned in his 2013 white paper.
The company has raised $245 million and demonstrated a form of propulsion technology in May 2016 at its test site north of Las Vegas Hyperloop One has completed a 500-meter Development Loop (DevLoop) in North Las Vegas and in May 2017, held its first full-scale Hyperloop test, becoming the first company in the world to do so. The test combined Hyperloop components including vacuum, propulsion, levitation, sled, control systems, tube, and structures.
Hyperloop One is currently developing passenger and cargo system routes in the United States, Canada, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. It is also in early talks with Indian government to build in India. Its publicly stated goal is to deliver a fully operational Hyperloop system by 2021.
The idea for Hyperloop One emerged from a conversation between Elon Musk and Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar when they were flying together to Cuba on a humanitarian mission in January 2012. Pishevar asked Musk to elaborate on his Hyperloop idea, which the industrialist had been mulling over for some time. Pishevar suggested using it for cargo, an idea Musk hadn’t considered, but he did say he was considering open-sourcing the concept because he was too busy running SpaceX and Tesla. Pishevar pushed Musk to publish his ideas about the Hyperloop, so that Pishevar could study them.
In August 2013, Musk released the Hyperloop Alpha white paper, generating widespread attention and enthusiasm. In the months that followed Pishevar incorporated Hyperloop Technologies and recruited the first board members, including David O. Sacks, Jim Messina and Joe Lonsdale. Pishevar also recruited a cofounder, a former SpaceX engineer named Brogan Bambrogan. Hyperloop Technologies set up shop in Bambrogan’s garage in Los Angeles in November 2014. By January 2015, Hyperloop Tech had raised $9 million in venture capital from Pishevar's Sherpa Capital and investors such as Formation 8 and Zhen Fund, and was able to move into its current campus in the Los Angeles Arts District. FORBES magazine put Hyperloop Tech on its February 2015 cover, landing the startup lots of fresh recruits and new investor interest. In June 2015, Pishevar recruited former Cisco president Rob Lloyd as an investor and, eventually, the company's CEO.
Between June 2015 and December 2015, the company continued to hire engineers and expand its downtown campus (now up to 75,000 square feet). In December 2015, the renamed Hyperloop One announced it would hold an open-air propulsion test at a new Test and Safety Site in Nevada. At the time, the company disclosed it had raised $37 million in financing to date and was completing a Series B round of $80m, which they closed on in May 2016. In October 2016, Hyperloop One announced that it had raised another $50 million, led by an investment from DP World.
The propulsion open-air test, or POAT, was successfully held in Nevada on May 9, 2016. The POAT sled accelerated to 134 mph (216 km/h) in 2.3 seconds, representing a crucial proof of concept. At the time Hyperloop One announced it had secured partnerships with global engineering and design firms such as AECOM, SYSTRA, Arup, Deutsche Bahn, General Electric, and Bjarke Ingels.
In June 2016 the company announced a memorandum of understanding with the Summa Group and the Russian Government to construct a Hyperloop in Moscow and has since completed two feasibility studies – one in Moscow and one in the Far East.
In late July 2016, Hyperloop One opened a 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) tooling and machine shop called Metalworks in North Las Vegas, Nevada, where it fabricates the parts for its nearby test track, called Devloop.
In August 2016, Hyperloop One announced a deal with the world's third largest ports operator, DP World, to develop a cargo offloader system at DP World's flagship port of Jebel Ali in Dubai. Hyperloop One also broke ground on DevLoop, the world's first full-scale Hyperloop test track.
On November 8, 2016, Hyperloop One announced it had signed a deal with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to conduct a number of feasibility studies on potential passenger and cargo Hyperloop routes in the United Arab Emirates. Hyperloop One also released its first system designs in collaboration with the Bjarke Ingels Group.
Just after midnight on May 12, 2017, Hyperloop One made history with its first full-scale Hyperloop test, becoming the first company in the world to test a full-scale Hyperloop. The system-wide test integrated Hyperloop components including vacuum, propulsion, levitation, sled, control systems, tube, and structures.
On July 12, 2017, the company revealed images of its first generation pod prototype, which will be used at the DevLoop test site in Nevada to test aerodynamics.
On August 2, 2017, Hyperloop One successfully tested its XP-1 passenger pod, reaching speeds of up to 192 mph (309 km/h). It traveled for just over 980 ft (300 m) before the brakes kicked in and it rolled to a stop.
Announced on October 12, 2017, Hyperloop One and the Virgin Group developed a strategic partnership to form Virgin Hyperloop One. With this partnership, Richard Branson joined the board of directors and Richard Branson and Virgin Group invested in Hyperloop One. The global strategic partnership will focus on passenger and mixed-use cargo service in addition to the creation of a new passenger division. Subsequently, Hyperloop One was renamed Virgin Hyperloop One, and Branson became the chairman of the board of directors.
Hyperloop One has raised $245 million to date. Its investors include Sherpa Capital, Formation 8, 137 Ventures, DP World, Khosla Ventures, Caspian Venture Capital, Fast Digital, Western Technology Investment, Zhen Fund, GE Ventures, and SNCF.
The CEO of Hyperloop One is Rob Lloyd, former Cisco President of Sales and Development. The co-founder and President of Engineering is Josh Giegel. Since 2016, the chief financial advisor is Brent Callinicos, the former CFO of Uber Technologies.
As of 2018, the board of directors include Richard Branson (Chairman), Justin Fishner-Wolfson, Jim Messina, Peter Diamandis, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Ziyavudin Magomedov, Rob Lloyd, Josh Giegel, and Emily White as a board observer and strategic adviser. Former board members include Joe Lonsdale and the co-founder Shervin Pishevar, who took a leave of absence from Hyperloop One in December 2017 after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Hyperloop One Global ChallengeEdit
In 2016, Hyperloop One launched its Hyperloop One Global Challenge to find the locations for, and develop and construct, the world’s first Hyperloop networks. In January 2017, Hyperloop One announced the 35 semifinalist routes (spread over 17 countries) in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. Hyperloop One held a series of events showcasing the semifinalists, Vision for India in February, Vision for America in April and Vision for Europe in June. On September 14, 2017, Hyperloop One announced the 10 winners for the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. The countries with teams that won include the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, and India. The winners will now be invited to work closely with Hyperloop One on viability studies to try and bring their respective loops from proposal to reality.
The ten winning routes that were selected are:
- U.S.: Chicago to Columbus to Pittsburgh.
- U.S.: Dallas to Laredo to Houston.
- U.S.: Cheyenne to Denver to Pueblo.
- U.S.: Miami to Orlando.
- Canada: Toronto to Ottawa to Montreal.
- Mexico: Mexico City to Guadalajara.
- U.K.: Edinburgh to London.
- U.K.: Glasgow to Liverpool.
- India: Bengaluru (Bangalore) to Chennai.
- India: Mumbai to Chennai.
In July 2016, the CTO and co-founder Brogan BamBrogan left the company, later filing a lawsuit with three other former employees alleging breach of fiduciary duty and misuse of corporate resources. On July 19, 2016, Hyperloop One filed a countersuit against the four former employees, alleging they staged a failed coup of the company, in the process breaching agreements around fiduciary duty, non-competes, proprietary information and non-disparagement, as well as intentional interference with contractual relations. On November 18, 2016, both parties agreed to settle the lawsuit. Terms were confidential and not disclosed. BamBrogan and other former Hyperloop One and SpaceX employees went on to found Arrivo, a competing hyperloop company.
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