A dummy in a prototype of the hyperloop one podGetty Images

The company which became well known for its idea of shooting people hundreds of miles an hour through a vacuum has shut down.

The aim of Hyperloop One, based on an idea by Elon Musk, was to dramatically cut journey times.

It has previously received backing from Virgin founder Richard Branson, but he pulled out last year.

The firm will lay off its remaining staff by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg.

The company had promised a new era of high speed travel, using magnetic levitation (maglev) technology – which is already used in some transport systems – within a vacuum tube.

This would reduce friction and air resistance, allowing the train to travel at speeds of 700mph (1,127km/h).

It was also meant to be greener than current high-speed transport.

However, while Hyperloop One did build some prototypes in the Nevada desert, the project stalled with some experts expressing doubts about its engineering challenges.

It would have required the construction of giant tubes across the countryside and within towns.

It also had a problem with corners – so all the tubes would have to be in a straight line.

The large hyperloop tube in the Nevada desert

Getty Images

A trial of the system f took place with two company employees in 2020 – the first successful passenger ride using hyperloop technology.

The pod reached a top speed of 107mph (172km/h) on the 546yds (500m) test run.

But the company announced a change in strategy in 2022, saying it would focus on transporting cargo instead of people.

That change also came with an announcement of over 100 job losses, and was followed by more job cuts later in the year.

By the end of the year, it was reported that Richard Branson, who had been company chairman, was pulling out and the company lost the endorsement of Virgin.

The company had also endured scandal over the years, with one previous director Ziyavudin Magomedov jailed in Russia on embezzlement charges.

Another investor, Shervin Pishevar, left in 2017 after Bloomberg reported sexual misconduct allegations.

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The original hyperloop was based on a report published by Elon Musk in 2013 which proposed the idea of shooting capsules through a tube at high speed.

Mr Musk has his own firm, The Boring Company, which is researching similar technology using underground tunnels.

There are also other similar companies around the world which continue to work on the concept.

DP World, the Dubai-based company which owns a majority stake in Hyperloop One, has been contacted for comment.

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