NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – JumpStartFund founder and CEO Dirk Ahlborn thinks Musk’s Hyperloop could be a viable alternative to California’s costly high-speed rail project.
Elon Musk is apparently not the only person with an 800-mile-per-hour pipe dream.
Two top U.S. engineers have signed on with a crowdfunding site to help turn Musk’s “Hyperloop” transportation system into a reality.
Dr. Marco Villa, the former director of mission operations for SpaceX, and Dr. Patricia Galloway, the first woman president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, will help lead and manage development of the “Hyperloop” tube that could someday transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.
“There does not seem to be any technical issues on this project that we can’t solve, even if we do not know right away, we will figure it out,” Villa said in a statement released by JumpStartFund, the southern California crowdfunding startup that has committed to building Musk’s design. “Hyperloop is a very complex system and we look forward to receiving input and support from all the brilliant minds out there in the JumpStartFund community.”
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX and founder of Tesla Motors, has said he doesn’t have enough time to pursue Hyperloop.
JumpStartFund founder and CEO Dirk Ahlborn told the Daily News that his team has set a goal of conducting scale tests of Hyperloop by the end of 2014.
“We’ve been working on the crowdfunding concept for a while, so when Elon Musk came out with his white paper for the Hyperloop but said he didn’t have the time to actually develop it, it was perfect for us,” Ahlborn said.
Over the past few days, more than 20,000 people have visited JumpStartFund’s website seeking more information on Hyperloop, and Ahlborn hopes that some who do will also be drawn to lend their expertise to the project in exchange for equity in the transportation company that eventually emerges.
See CrowdFundBeat Related Video
As California begins construction of a high-speed rail line connecting northern and southern California, Hyperloop remains just a concept, but one that has passed early simulation tests.
Given the continual cost overruns and court challenges to the rail system, however, Ahlborn hopes that Hyperloop, which promises to cut the travel time between L.A. and San Francisco to just 30 minutes, will be seen as a legitimate alternative.
“We may be a competitor for the high-speed rail,” Ahlborn said. “I think Hyperloop would be a great solution to California’s transportation needs. The high speed rail cost is now at, what, $42 billion? Hyperloop will end up being much cheaper than that.”
Still, even the project’s biggest supporters know that big dreams can be dashed quickly, too.
“I believe this project will revolutionize how transportation will be viewed for future travel to and from major cities similar to the way the Concorde almost changed air travel,” Galloway said in a statement.
Source: DAVID KNOWLES / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS