Why It's Disruptive
Hyperloop One had a big year in 2016. The company showed off a prototype of its levitating rail technology. More than 2,500 cities around the world--many of which had the support of their local governments--submitted proposals to be among the first locations with a working Hyperloop. The company is already engaging with some of those governments on logistics, regulation, and financing to make its vision a reality. "People won't have to move away to the big city to get a job," says Marvin Ammori, Hyperloop One's chief counsel. "If Chicago to Detroit goes from a four-hour trip to a 25-minute trip, you can create one super-region that combines their talent pools. Who knows what kinds of industries will spring up?"
If all goes as planned, 2017 could be a real game-changing year. Hyperloop One has said it plans to do a full-size test run of its pods that will be designed to travel at 700 mph in a magnetic, low-pressure tube.
It's not at all a given that Hyperloop One's test will go as planned. The demo has been delayed multiple times and will likely not reach maximum speeds. Some estimates have placed the cost of a single Hyperloop rail somewhere in the range of $120 million per mile. Between that and the extensive regulatory red tape, the startup knows it will have to continue working hand-in-hand with governments to have a chance at success. --Kevin J. Ryan