The futuristic transport start-up Hyperloop One is shutting down in the new year, according to reports from Bloomberg. 

The transport system, first proposed by entrepreneur Elon Musk in a 2013 white paper, aimed to transport people in vacuum tunnels at airplane speeds. 

Since its emergence, Hyperloop One switched its interest from public transport to freight after it lost the backing of Virgin’s Richard Branson. 

Branson originally invested in Hyperloop One in 2017. However, after Branson criticised Saudi Arabia following the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the country pulled out of a potential plan for a hyperloop system. Branson subsequently departed the company.

Currently, there is only one small test track for the technology, which was due to carry out expansion plans in May

The company has reportedly made several mass lay-offs and is attempting to sell assets, according to the Bloomberg report.

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Since its first round of funding in 2014, Hyperloop One never received a contractor to build a large-scale working hyperloop system. 

Since the publication of his paper, Musk has set up a construction business, the Boring Company, to create tunnels and explore similar hyperloop technology. 

Hyperloop transport ideas have frequently been named “gadgetbahns” by critics, who refer to the impracticality of such futuristic transport solutions.

Hyperloop One will cease all operations on 31 December.