The hyperloop has a new face: Former Cisco President Rob Lloyd may not be a real-life Tony Stark like Elon Musk, but he says he's going to turn the next-generation transportation idea into a reality.
Hyperloop Technologies Inc. named Lloyd its CEO Wednesday. Emily White, former COO of Snapchat, will become an advisor. Lloyd said the company now has more than 50 full time employees, has expanded its 55,000-foot Los Angeles headquarters, and is planning to raise $80 million in funding— part of which will be used to build a hyperloop test track.
Musk's originally described the futuristic transport tube, which should be capable of moving people and cargo at speeds of 760 miles per hour, back in August 2013. The technology will use pressurized tubes and a pillow of air to propel "pods" at speeds and efficiencies we've never seen before for ground transport.
Hyperloop Technologies' hires and the funding news make a hyperloop arms race seem much more real than it did a few months ago. It's a bit confusing, but right now there are three separate companies building hyperloop test tracks: Lloyd's Hyperloop Technologies, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, and SpaceX, which is building a one-mile hyperloop prototype at its rocket factory in Hawthorne, California.
Hyperloop Technologies appears to be earliest in the process. It's smaller than Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which boasts 400 employees and already has secured a five-mile plot of land in central California to build the first full-scale passenger hyperloop.
But Lloyd and White give the company some credence as a real player in the space—in an email to employees, Lloyd said that, just as Cisco helped build the internet infrastructure, he will help build "the most efficient transportation network the world has ever seen."
"Hyperloop will become a global network of connected technologies except we will be moving atoms, not bits, and will do so faster, cheaper, safer and greener," he wrote. "Some people and companies will resist the disruption we will create, just as they did when we talked about carrying all forms of data, voice, video and mobile traffic on the Internet. Their doubts will just make us stronger and more determined."