Transportation Company Hyperloop One to Shut Down

Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One, a transportation company that aimed to revolutionize transit with its high-speed tube-encased lines, is reportedly shutting down.

The company is selling off its assets and laying off its remaining employees at the end of the year, Bloomberg reported Thursday (Dec. 21).

This news comes after Hyperloop One raised over $450 million since its founding in 2014, according to the report.

Initially gaining significant attention as a high-profile startup, Hyperloop One attracted investment from Richard Bransons Virgin, leading to a brief rebranding as Virgin Hyperloop One, the report said.

However, the company later decided to shift its focus from passenger transportation to cargo, resulting in the removal of the Virgin branding, per the report.

The company built a small test track near Las Vegas to develop its transportation technology, according to the report. Now, it is attempting to sell its remaining assets, including the test track and machinery.

The majority stakeholder in Hyperloop One, Dubai-based conglomerate DP World, is expected to acquire the startups remaining intellectual property, the report said.

Hyperloop Ones closure marks a setback for the hyperloop industry, which has long promised a new era of transportation, per the report. The concept, highlighted by Elon Musk in a white paper in 2013, captured the publics imagination with its vision of high-speed travel and a solution to traffic congestion.

The hyperloop concept has been described as “a high-speed transportation system in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.”

Asked about the concept in 2018, Bill Gates said: “I am not sure the hyperloop concept makes sense — making it safe is hard.”

Despite Hyperloop Ones struggles and the fact that no large-scale hyperloop has successfully been built, the concept of hyperloop transportation continues to captivate entrepreneurs, according to the report. Several other companies, such as Hardt Hyperloop, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Swisspod Technologies, are still working on developing prototypes.

Elon Musk himself has been involved in promoting the field, organizing student competitions for hyperloop designs and establishing his own tunneling company, The Boring Co., which explores related technologies, the report said.