As Elon Musk, Virgin Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) race to build 700mph levitating trains — connecting far-flung cities in mere minutes — a fourth company is entering the ring.
Meet Arrivo, a company founded by Brogan BamBrogan (yes, that is his legal name), an engineer who worked at SpaceX then Hyperloop One, which he left amid an employment lawsuit.
Based in Los Angeles, Arrivo is working with Colorado's Department of Transport to build its own hyperloop designed to travel through the city of Denver. But instead of firing passenger capsules through tunnels with most of their air removed, as other hyperloop companies plan to do, Arrivo will leave its electric train open to the elements.
Despite a lack of tunnels, Arrivo still says its hyperloop-inspired, planning to use a magnetized track — like others — to reach speeds of 200mph. But where other hyperloop systems want to link cities hundreds of miles apart, BamBrogan wants to whisk commuters alongside pre-existing freeways, transporting them across cities, or to nearby towns, in a matter of minutes.
The system appears similar to maglev (magnetic levitation) trains, already popular in China and Japan.
Described as "the end of traffic," Arrivo says its system will work in a variety of ways, such as a high-speed train carrying passengers, goods and vehicles. But a video published by Arrivo also shows it acting like an inner-city bus, driving on the road and making stops to pick up passengers.
The company says: "Arrivo's autonomous network is engineered to eliminate traffic by zipping vehicles at speeds up to 200mph as a new, seamless layer of transportation that integrates with existing roadways, city metros and automobiles. The system uses only electric power to propel the vehicles and magnetic levitation to float the vehicles at high speeds."
BamBrogan told Wired how the tunnels required by 'proper' hyperloop systems are too complicated and expensive to be worth the effort. Instead of going supersonic across timezones, Arrivo will travel at 200mph for journeys of between 10 and 60 miles, making intercity commutes far more manageable and dramatically increasing the size of most town and city commuter belts.
"The real value is going point-to-point, no traffic." BamBrogan said. Referencing other hyperloop systems, he added: "If I want to travel really fast between two cities in a low-pressure environment inside a metal tube, I would use an airplane...The problem we're trying to take on is getting you to the airport."
In that sense, Arrivo is similar to Musk's other transportation plan, which involves electric sleds carrying passenger cars through underground tunnels at 120mph, skipping city traffic.
Arrivo claims it could have a commercial system up and running within five years.