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Elon Musk's 'hyperloop' gets new company

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Tesla Motors/AP/File

(Read caption) An image released by Tesla Motors, shows a conceptual design rendering of the Hyperloop passenger transport capsule.

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Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk cemented his image as a cross between Tony Stark, Steve Jobs and Hank Scorpio when he revealed his plans for Hyperloop back in August. The high-speed, pod-based transportation system is designed to take passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just half an hour--hitting speeds of around 800 mph. But while the idea resonated around the internet, Musk confirmed he was too busy with other projects to take it on himself.

Now, reports Fox News, the reins for the open-source plans have been taken by Patricia Galloway, who heads up Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc--a company aiming to put Musk's plans into reality. Together with former SpaceX mission operations director Marco Villa, Galloway wants to revolutionize ground transport in the same way Concorde did for air transport.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has already moved from feasibility studies, independently analyzed by ANSYS, to conceptual design. The company aims to have an updated whitepaper ready by March, detailing how a prototype would be built--and from there, an actual prototype could arrive before the end of 2014. 

Galloway certainly has the engineering chops to drive such a project forward--she's previously worked on a Panama Canal expansion project, floodgates protecting the Italian city of Venice, and a $30 billion project to expand London's rail network.

That almost makes Hyperloop sound easy. Musk's brainchild uses long, slim pods to whisk passengers along at up to 800 mph on nothing but a cushion of air--drawn in through the front and propelled from the back of each pod. The network would have lower costs than California's proposed high-speed rail system, as the route would follow existing freeways on a pylon system. That also cuts down the cost of acquiring new land.

Musk himself won't play any part in Hyperloop, says Fox News--a spokeswoman for SpaceX confirming that he wishes the team well, but doesn't endorse the project. Now we just have to wait and see whether his vision will become reality.


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