Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is trying to play catch-up.
The startup generated a lot of hype in August 2015 when it said it will break ground on its five-mile Hyperloop test track in Quay Valley, just north of Los Angeles, beginning in May 2016. At the time, HTT said passengers will be able to use the system in 2018.
HTT was one of the first to release a timeline for the Hyperloop, a futuristic transport system that can transport passengers in levitating pods at speeds that exceed 700 mph.
However, HTT never completed its application to build the test track, delaying the project, Wired reported last September. Generally, HTT has drawn quite a bit of scepticism as all of its employees are volunteers who work on the project 10 hours a week outside their full-time jobs. They aren’t being paid for their labour.
On Tuesday, HTT released a video announcing that it’s building a passenger capsule at its R&D center in Toulouse, France that will be revealed in 2018. However, the video doesn’t give a clear view of the pod.
HTT said it’s working with Carbures, a company based in Spain that builds composite parts and structures in the aerospace and railway industries. The capsule can hold between 28 and 40 people and will be able to travel up to 760 mph, HTT said.
HTT will need to stay on its 2018 timeline if it wants a shot at competing with Hyperloop One, another startup developing Hyperloop technology.
The LA-based company has already demoed its technology on a test track in North Las Vegas, Nevada in May 2016.
Hyperloop One has released images of its full-scale development site that will measure 2 miles long when it’s completed. The first public trial using the new system is slated to occur in the first half of this year.
Hyperloop One has also signed an agreement with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to begin evaluating building a Hyperloop between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Additionally, it secured $US50 million in a funding round led by DP World, the third largest port and terminal operator in the world, to build a Hyperloop that can transport cargo.
Hyperloop One currently has $US160 million in funding, according to the startup.
Meanwhile, Brogan BamBrogan, the co-founder and former CTO of Hyperloop One, has launched his own Hyperloop startup, Arrivo, with three other former Hyperloop One employees.
BamBrogan and the three other Arrivo co-founders sued Hyperloop One in July 2016, alleging executives were misusing funds and violated California labour code, among other things. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Arrivo has yet to make any serious moves in the space. But it’s clear that HTT will have to stick to its deadlines as the Hyperloop startup scene begins to heat up.
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