Elon Musk might make his own Hyperloop after all, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is said to be planning to build the Hyperloop portion of his planned underground tunnel-based Hyperloop network himself, rather than relying on outside partners already developing commercial Hyperloop technology.
The 'Hyperloop' trademark has already been applied for by SpaceX, with an application date prior to Musk's release of his 2013 research paper outlining the design and potential of the transportation technology. Hyperloop works by sending passenger and cargo pods through a very low pressure, near-vacuum environment using magnetic levitation to achieve very high speeds over long distances.
Musk had opened up the technology to development by outside parties, noting at the time that he didn't have the necessary bandwidth between his other enterprises to bring the technology to market. Other startups, including Shervin Pishevar's Hyperloop One and Dirk Ahlborn's Hyperloop Transportation Technologies picked up the gauntlet and have been working to build out the tech from a technical perspective, and to pave the way for its commercialization.
Drawings from Musk's original 2013 Hyperloop research paper.
Last month, however, Elon Musk noted that he had received "verbal government approval" to build a large underground Hyperloop network linking major city centers across multiple states. Musk's recent venture The Boring Company is looking to develop ways to efficiently and affordably dig underground tunnel networks to bypass surface route congestion.
At the time, Musk didn't provide any details about plans for the Hyperloop component of the system he was planning, but The Boring Company was clear in communications that it was not working with Hyperloop One or any other third-party at the time. Now, it looks like the reason may be that Musk wants to own the building of that aspect of the network, too.
At the end of August, SpaceX will host its second Hyperloop Pod design competition, which sees teams including university research groups facing off with prototype pods of their own making on SpaceX's test track. The next arm of the competition is focused on speed, and the stakes seem higher now that it looks like Musk will be developing his own Hyperloop tech to turn his vision of fast, efficient long-distance underground travel into reality.