It has been two and a half months since Elon Musk released his design for Hyperloop -- the futuristic transit system intended to get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. But now those grand plans seem more than a pipe dream.
JumpStartFund, a crowdsourcing and crowdfunding website, today announced the birth of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc.
Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of JumpStartFund, said his company reached out to Musk shortly after he announced his plans for Hyperloop. "They were happy to put the Hyperloop project on our website," he told ABC News. "We work with a community that gives us lots of opinions and ideas, and the community wants to make this happen."
JumpStartFund has been recruiting people to work on the Hyperloop project. Last month, two top engineers were named as the project's official leaders: Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for SpaceX, and Patricia Galloway, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Now the two engineers are not just leading a project but a company.
"Marco and I are trying to determine who the best leads are for each of the various aspects of the Hyperloop," said Galloway. "How we're doing it is revolutionary for a megaproject like this." While Galloway and Villa are still on the search for the right people, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies already has partnerships in place to put the plan into action.
Ansys, an engineering simulation software developer, previously released a feasibility study on whether the Hyperloop could actually be built, and will continue its work on the project. GloCal, a company that specializes in advanced materials, has agreed to share its knowledge and resources to support Hyperloop. Finally, Suprastudio, an architecture program affiliated with UCLA, will investigate the urban planning aspects of Hyperloop, such as where the stations should be located in the two cities. "We have people working on it every day," says Ahlborn. "Hyperloop is an official company now."
The company expects to have a completed white paper, a document that answers all the questions of whether or not the project is feasible, by the end of March 2014. In addition, the company is planning for a prototype design in June, with the first demo slated for early 2015.
But even a project as ambitious as Hyperloop is still a startup. "No one is getting paid right now," said Villa. "But everyone who participates with a specific aspect gets stock options in exchange for their contributions. In my opinion, people prefer to work on things that matter instead of things that get them high pay."