City-to-City Stops in Under an Hour? Hyperloop Technology Just Took a Step Further in the US

City-to-City Stops in Under an Hour? Hyperloop Technology Just Took a Step Further in the US

A new type of high-speed mass transit that envisions enabling daily commutes from, say, San Francisco or Las Vegas to Los Angeles in under an hour has moved one crucial step closer to reality.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a guidance document that provides a clear pathway for hyperloop regulation and deployment in the United States. The document was developed by the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council, which was created last year to explore this issue.


L.A.-based Virgin Hyperloop, which has raised more than $400 million led by DP World and is also backed by Virgin Group, hailed the step. It hopes hyperloop technology will lead the world into 21st century transportation. The company said it has worked closely with the NETT Council since its creation.

"It takes strong vision to break away from the inertia of the status quo and embrace these opportunities," said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. He said the announcement lays the groundwork for the U.S. to take that leadership.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that the guidance "bridges the gap between innovator and regulator" and "prioritizes safety during development without hampering innovation."

Hyperloop technology relies on electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation in a tube at near-vacuum conditions so that a vehicle carrying cargo or commuters can travel along major roadways at rates approaching 700 mpg to the "metro stops" of connecting cities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also said Thursday that it determined hyperloop projects are eligible for federal funding, including some of its loan and lending projects, just as any maglev or magnetic levitation project is.

The NETT Council, which was appropriated $2 million to study emerging cross-modal transportation technologies like hyperloop, is expected to provide a report to Congress by December 20. The research includes looking for opportunities for regulatory relief from existing rules created for traditional transportation methods, which may not be applicable to certain emerging transportation technologies.

"It's clear that the USDOT shares our vision for infrastructure development as a way for the country to not just rebuild, but evolve as we emerge from this crisis," said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop, in a statement.

Last month, Virgin Hyperloop announced a partnership with Spirit AeroSystems, an aerospace manufacturer, to produce the hyperloop bogie.

__

Do you have a story that needs to be told? My DMs are open on Twitter @latams. You can also email me at tami(at)dot.la, or ask for my contact on Signal, for more secure and private communications.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.

It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.

Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.

As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?

Read more Show less

GoodRx earned dot.LA's top 2020 Startup award on Wednesday, beating out the popular sneaker reseller GOAT, the meditation application Headspace, mobile gamer Scopely and viral-video app TikTok.

"GoodRx started in Los Angeles, and will always be a Los Angeles-based company," said co-CEO Doug Hirsch. "We're so excited about the support we've received over the last decade from both entrepreneurs and investors and just incredible people that make up the ecosystem here in California and specifically in Los Angeles."

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending