Startup Thinks Elon Musk's 'Hyperloop' Idea Isn't So Crazy after All

Dec 19, 2014 03:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Oh, to be Elon Musk and have so many innovative ideas that you can afford to give them away for free.

The man behind Tesla Motors and commercial space venture SpaceX has hatched a scheme for a "hyperloop" transportation system that can swiftly ferry travelers between San Francisco and Los Angeles--and he has issued an open invitation to others to develop the idea, inspiring a group of unpaid volunteers to form a startup for that purpose.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has found the plan to be "completely feasible" and believe the alternative travel system could be developed for between $7 billion and $16 billion, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Musk's vision is for a system that puts passengers inside capsules that zoom through sealed tubes at more than 760 mph. Picking up the idea he pitched last year, the new startup formed to pursue the unusual transportation system. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies brings together a collective of unpaid volunteers who work for some of the most well-known names in Silicon Valley.

The startup's members have big plans for the hyperloop technology, envisioning a high-speed network that transports passengers around the country. They say that tickets would cost around $20 or $30, and because the system would be so fast, people could live in one city and commute daily to another metropolitan area hundreds of miles away.

"It's not really so much about the technology at this point," CEO Dirk Ahlborn told the Chronicle. "It's more about how would we integrate the hyperloop into our daily lives."

The volunteers come from companies including Airbus, Boeing, Cisco Systems, Salesforce and Yahoo as well as Musk's Tesla and SpaceX. 

Ahlborn has already been approached by venture capitalists who want to fund the futuristic project, but it's too early in the process to accept funding, he said.

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