Reported Shutdown of Hyperloop One Company

One of the pioneering hyperloop startups is set to close its doors by the end of this year. Hyperloop One, previously backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, will cease operations on December 31, as per a report by Bloomberg News.

This development marks the most recent setback in the technology industry’s efforts to breathe life into an idea that was first proposed by Elon Musk in a white paper in 2013. Despite raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars since its establishment in 2014, the concept still has yet to gain traction.

The initial concept of the hyperloop seemed like an ambitious vision: constructing lengthy vacuum-sealed tubes to transport people and goods at incredibly high speeds. However, beyond a few tech demonstrations and test tracks, the idea has not taken off as originally anticipated.

Hyperloop One itself underwent several transformations, including a contentious legal battle between its co-founders. In 2017, the startup changed its name to Virgin Hyperloop One after receiving an investment from Branson. However, following Branson’s criticism of Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, the Kingdom withdrew from a planned project with the company, leading the billionaire to step down as chairman.

Eventually, Dubai port operator DP World gained majority control of the startup and shifted its focus to cargo in early 2022. This change resulted in the downsizing of half the staff and the abandonment of plans for passenger transport, prompting the removal of the Virgin name. According to Bloomberg, DP World will acquire Hyperloop One’s intellectual property, while its physical assets, such as a test track outside Las Vegas and other machinery, will be sold off.

The news of Hyperloop One’s impending closure raises questions about the long-term viability of hyperloop technology. Despite the initial hype surrounding the concept, significant technical, regulatory, and financial challenges have hindered its progress. The demise of Hyperloop One serves as a cautionary tale for companies seeking to revolutionize transportation through unproven and speculative technologies.

As the year draws to a close, the once-promising future of hyperloop transportation now seems uncertain. While the idea of high-speed transportation in vacuum-sealed tubes has captivated imaginations, the reality of making it a viable and sustainable mode of transportation has proven to be elusive. The end of Hyperloop One’s journey may mark an inflection point in the hyperloop saga, raising doubts about the feasibility and practicality of the concept.


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