Colorado's Department of Transportation has teamed up with Arrivo to use Hyperloop-ish technology to connect the city of Denver. The partnership is looking at ways to use vacuum tubes to reduce congestion and create a local transport area that bridges distances far faster than at present.
Arrivo's system is essentially a mix between a Hyperloop and Elon Musk's notions for how to reduce traffic in LA. A series of vacuum tubes would be installed in the median strip of highways, and cars would enter at designated locations.
Sitting on a levitating sled, the vehicles would then be propelled across distances at a speed of 200 miles an hour. It's believed that, for instance, the hour-plus journey time between the Airport and Downtown, or Boulder and Downtown, would be cut to under 10 minutes.
Of course, Arrivo's pitch doesn't just include car-based sleds, but can also be used to ship cargo containers and passenger shuttles. Which should, at the very least, help alleviate the region's overstuffed infrastructure that is struggling to cope with the volume of vehicles on its roads.
As for the deviations from the Hyperloop plan, while the tracks are in tunnels to reduce wind shear, they're not depressurized environments. The top speed will, therefore, max out at 200 miles per hour, but that's still more than twice as fast as the top speed limit for cars.
Because the system is computer controlled, it's hoped that -- much like self-driving cars -- having the Arrivo pods algorithmically co-ordinate will help reduce congestion.
The backstory here is that after Elon Musk revealed Hyperloop, SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan and investor Shervin Pishevar went into business. Their partnership, Hyperloop Technologies (Now Hyperloop One) quickly established itself as the leader in this new fast-transportation space race.
But a personal and professional dispute between Brogan and Pishevar's brother, Afshin, which allegedly led to a death threat, soured the relationship. After competing lawsuits were filed (and subsequently settled), BamBrogan was left free to launch his own Hyperloop-esque business, which morphed into Arrivo.
Arrivo has been staffed by several former (Virgin) Hyperloop One team members, including David Pendergast (Partnerships), William Mulholland (Finance) and Knut Sauer (Business development). The team was rounded-out with former SpaceX engineer Jadon Smith, Hyperloop One's Nima Bahrami and AECOM's former transport head Andrew Liu.
The project will test its concept by building a route running alongside the E-470 toll road which connects the city to its nearest airport. In addition, Arrivo will set up shop in Denver, with a pledge to hire 200 employees by 2020 and will spend up to $15 million investing in the project.