Hyperloop is a new mode of transport first envisioned by Tesla and Space CEO Elon Musk. It consists of a low-pressure environment taking the form of a tube in which pods travel at high-speed.
Several people brought forward similar ideas, but the term and specific system were first revealed to the public in a white paper published by Musk and a few engineers at Tesla and SpaceX in 2013. He open-sourced the concept and several startups have since launched efforts to make the concept a reality.
According to Hyperloop One – the company that is leading the effort to commercialize the system –, “it is a new way to move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It’s on-demand, energy-efficient and safe.”
How does it work?
The hyperloop uses a special electric motor to accelerate or decelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. Electric induction cannons give the initial impulse, and then the electrified and magnetic-energized rails keep the vehicle moving.
Air systems make the transportation capsule “float”, decreasing the friction and improving the hyperloop performance. In its current concepts, each capsule is equipped with electric fans and air compressors. With these structures, the capsule can transfer the air present in the front to the back, not letting it be a barrier to progress.
The system is designed to be entirely autonomous, quiet and on-demand. The high-speed vehicle promises to glide silently for miles with no turbulence.
Hyperloop will change how we live
“Hyperloop system will cut out a lot of the time-consuming parts of traveling, like trekking to the airport and waiting in long ticket and baggage lines”, says Brogan BamBrogan, Hyperloop One’s chief technology officer and co-founder. This is mainly because its stations are planned to be built in city centers and include technologies that make loading and unloading passengers extremely easy.
Hyperloops will also improve cargo transportation. It could help port terminals become more productive by quickly moving containers inland to intermodal sites, BamBrogan said. This would also decrease traffic congestion in port cities caused by trucks.
First Hyperloop full-scale test track released
Today you will be able to have an updated look at what is probably the most advanced hyperloop system developed so far. Hyperloop One’s track in Nevada is the first that could support a full-scale pod to carry people and cargo. The company released the first pictures of their progress since installing the first tube last November.
Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One, was in Dubai for the Middle East Rail conference. The company has seen strong interest in the region and announced a deal last year to bring the first hyperloop network to Dubai. For the occasion, the CEO unveiled the first image of what they are calling the “DevLoop” – a hyperloop test track. Watch this quick video:
The final version is supposed to be 1-mile-long, but it currently stretches on 500 meters in the Nevada desert. The tube measures 3.3 meters in diameter and the entire test structure weighs over one million kilograms.
The system should be put into use in the coming months and while there is still a long way to go before we can witness an actual commercial application of a hyperloop, whether, for cargo or passengers, we can definitely see some progress.
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