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Hyperloop Prototype Coming as Early as 2015

Elon Musk proposed a concept earlier this year for super-high-speed pneumatic travel that could revolutionize ground transport, and a company has formed to run with the idea.

When Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, revealed his Hyperloop concept in August, he made it clear that he wasn’t ready to take the project on. So now a new company, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc., has been formed to turn Musk’s concept into a real prototype as soon as early 2015.

Pitched as a cross between a “Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table,” the Hyperloop concept can travel 760 mph and would, according to Musk, cost just $6 billion if built as a replacement for the $70 billion high-speed rail California proposed as a way to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The new company is led by Patricia Galloway, the first female president of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a former member of the U.S. National Science Board, and Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for SpaceX.

“The feasibility is done. What we’re working on now is moving toward conceptual design,” Galloway told “It’s similar to what the Concorde did for air transport. This will revolutionize how we transport people from city to city.”

The company isn’t trying to develop Hyperloop alone – it's tapping the crowd. As Galloway and Villa work for free, the company is searching for help through crowdfunding and crowdsourcing website JumpStartFund.

On the Hyperloop JumpStartFund page, the plan's development components are outlined alongside a timeline. The project's current phase, which will continue until Feb. 23, includes defining the scope of a subscale prototype, raising funding and gathering design details.

The white paper will be updated in March 2014 to reflect the work done so far, and then released at the end of the month.

The prototype design will be released for bid on June 2, and the prototype is scheduled for demonstration in the first quarter of 2015. It has not been announced who will be the guinea pig to be the first shot through a tube traveling at nearly 800 mph.

Colin wrote for Government Technology and Emergency Management from 2010 through most of 2016.