Originally developed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Hyperloop is a new form of ground transportation that will allow passengers to travel between locations at speeds in excess of 1,100 km per hour.
If you think about it, the futuristic concept of Hyperloop – if it is erected – will produce a real transport revolution. Just imagine: passengers board capsules that move them to their destination faster than airplanes through hermetic tubes. Hyperloop runs on an electric motor and magnetic levitation. However, even though it looks like science fiction, Hyperloop will soon become a reality.
What is Hyperloop?
The idea of Hyperloop came to the mind of the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Mask, in 2012. However, the entrepreneur set out his vision of an ultra-fast transport system that will move capsules with passengers through steel pipes many years ago. We don’t know if Futurama’s animated series has anything to do with this idea, but it’s very similar to that. Let us remind you, according to the plot, in 3000, people just went into a pipe, which carried them to their destination at great speed.
In simple words, the Hyperloop is a train in a pipe. The fact is that air can be pumped out of the pipe and its resistance reduced. The lower the resistance, the higher the speed can be developed. But the path from the idea to its implementation is not easy. So, with an estimated price of $ 6 billion, the Hyperloop concept will never be realized. But regardless of the cost and complexity of building an almost supersonic ground transportation system, according to the head of Tesla, Hyperloop is a cross between an airplane and a train.
Indeed, there is nothing fundamentally new in the idea of a hyper loop, and all technologies have been tested for a long time, so all that is left is to simply assemble them together. It is noteworthy that the concept of futuristic hyper Loop will be open source. Let us remind you that open source code is a computer program code that is open to all users and allows you to learn during use.
Real Hyperloop Speed
According to the idea – depending on the landscape – Hyperloop speed should reach from 480 to 1220 km / h. The speed of the existing Hyperloop capsules – Virgin Hyperloop One – reaches 387 km per hour. But the record belongs to the German company TUM Hyperloop, which in 2018 managed to disperse the capsule to 457 kilometers per hour.
Who is working on creating the Hyperloop?
Earlier, Musk called on the world community and companies to develop the necessary technology of hyperloop, without the participation of the entrepreneur himself. This led to the formation of many startups and student teams that are working on the development of Hyperloop and translating it into reality. So, recently it became known about considering proposals for the construction of Hyperloop between Paris and Amsterdam, which could transport passengers from one point to another in less than 90 minutes.
But, startup Virgin Hyperloop One, founded by Richard Branson, already in 2017, built a full-size capsule on test tracks in Nevada. Reportedly, the capsule managed to accelerate to 387 km per hour. Recall that the company seeks to achieve a maximum speed of 1220 km / h. At the same time, Virgin Hyperloop deviates slightly from the original plan of Elon Mask, since it combines two main principles:
Firstly, magnetic levitation is a technology that is already used in monorails for lifting passenger capsules and moving them. For magnetic levitation, two sets of magnets are used – one pair lifts the capsules from the paths, and the second moves them at high speed with reduced friction.
Secondly, a vacuum sealed medium with low pressure removes most of the air from the pipes and has no contact with the ground. As a result, the capsules encounter little resistance when moving. It is noteworthy that the air pressure inside the pipe is equivalent to flying at an altitude of 61 km above sea level.
Where will Hyperloop be built?
Virgin Hyperloop One launched the global task of finding the best routes for the new transport system. Out of more than 2,600 proposals for locating hyperloop stations from around the world, the list has been reduced to 35 potential locations. So, with 10 winners around the world, Hyperloop can work in partnership with the government of each of the locations.
Is Hyperloop Technology Safe?
Virgin hyperloop One explains that they have to build thick steel pipes that are extremely difficult to pierce or break. In addition, the pipes are designed to withstand changes in pressure and air leakage, while maintaining their structural integrity. It is also possible to cut off parts of the route and re-pressurize areas where emergency situations occur, and all capsules are expected to be equipped with emergency exits
At the same time, the trip cost in a hyper loop will be lower than a plane ticket, because there are no such large infrastructure costs as in the case of airports, and the operation of the route itself is also inexpensive. One way or another, we should all be preparing for the revolution in passenger and transportation in the next decade. The future is very near.