Hyperloop is a technology that will turn the world of transportation upside down it becomes a reality. A means of transport that can travel, a lot faster than today’s airplanes, a lot faster than the fastest bullet train, and a hell lot faster than any road transport in today’s date. How fast would it be? Certainly, faster than the speed of sound.
What is Hyperloop and How does Hyperloop work?
Hyperloop is basically a whole new mode of ground transportation. That includes a reduced air pressure tube, a pod, a lot of technology, and few superior brains.
The base concept of Hyperloop that was proposed by Elon Musk in 2012 in a white paper release named Hyperloop Alpha included, tubes that can be linked in a form of long tunnels, and then the air pressure inside them can be reduced. The pressurized capsules with passengers or cargo inside are supposed to travel in those low air resistance tubes, driven by a linear induction motor. An axial compressor in the front will suck the air and release it from the back, providing it an extra thrust and leaving a thin air cushion beneath the capsule, in between the surface and capsule, to provide it with the little to no friction. Thus, the pod could travel very fast while consuming the least energy.
With the high-end practical concept and the revolutionary companies SpaceX and Tesla being on its back, the idea was sure to grab all the eyeballs. But it couldn’t turn into a reality, due to the high cost of making it a mainstream mode of transport. However, it also didn’t die there, Elon Musk kept the Design and concept open sourced, to let all the technical brains borrow from it, experiment with it, and contribute in it.
How far we are from the first Hyperloop in the world?
From the time the idea first got proposed by Elon Musk, things have come really close to making it a reality and us getting the first Hyperloop in the world. Many companies modified the design and are experimenting with the help of crowdfunding. To give the idea a further push, Elon Musk organized a Hyperloop competition in 2015, to let the contenders experiment and test their hyperloop technology at its own 1-mile long hyperloop test track near SpaceX’s headquarter in Hawthorn, California. 1 more such competition followed in 2018 and another one is planned for 2019.
With so much of contribution towards the technology and investor’s interest to build a profitable yet affordable for the public transportation system, there are companies who are making some actual advancements. With the speed, the companies are taking their project forward, the first hyperloop in the world doesn’t seem far away.
Companies in the race of Hyperloop: –
Virgin Hyperloop One: –
Leaving all its contenders behind, Virgin Hyperloop One is on the verge of making it a reality in the next 3 years. Deviating a little from the original Hyperloop Alpha concept, Hyperloop one uses two basic principles. First being Maglev, the magnetic levitation technology used to lift the passenger pod and move them along at a significant speed. The second principle is to use the low-pressure vacuum sealed environment for the passenger pod to travel through. With so low air resistance and no contact with the ground, the pods can reach a speed of 700 miles per hour, that is more than 1200km/h while using very little energy.
Virgin Hyperloop One has carried out a successful full-scale system test in May 2017 at the 500-meter-long test track at the Nevada Desserts. The team has achieved a speed over 245miles/hr. Hyperloop one is working on 10 potential routes around the world, the feasibility studies are being done on the routes. The routes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Mumbai to Pune in India are the two routes under making now and are proposed to become operational by 2021 and 2025 respectively.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies: –
A team of more than 800 engineers around the globe. HTT in may 2015 announced the finalization of a deal between landowners and the company for an 8km long test track between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company with Abu Dhabi government announced plans to initiate a feasibility study between UAE capital and Al Ain in 2015. The HHT and Andhra Pradesh governments signed an agreement to build a track between Amravati and Vijayawada (India) in under PPP partnership.
Many other companies like TransPod Inc., DGW Hyperloop, Arrivo etc. are working on their separate projects or testing tracks to get the best Hyperloop technology out of it.
Rather than just the speed, why Hyperloop can prove to be better than other modes of transportation.
The concept of Hyperloop carries several advantages. Just like train stations, Hyperloop portals (stations) are planned to be located well deep into the city areas, and that will certainly provide an easy access to the existing city transports. This advantage gives hyperloop a certain edge over the Air transport, where the airports are located well outside the city with very limited access. Also, unlike the Airports, the hyperloop portals are planned to eliminate the lengthy check-in process by more advanced security checks, and that also in turn up and go principle.
The other advantage is sped if we look at the other dimensions of the benefit it provides. The Hyperloop is proposed to significantly reduce the travel time, enough to let us live in another city and go to work daily in totally another city. It will also certainly ease the housing and population problems, due to the people no longer need to live where they work.
The Hyperloop system requires a very little energy to work; thus, it can be operated just by renewable energy. It will certainly prove to be a cleaner alternative to air travel. The Hyperloop has full potential to totally revolutionize the way we live, work and travel.
Safety concerns with Hyperloop: –
When someone will tell you, that people will travel beneath the earth’s surface in a vacuum sealed environment at nearly supersonic speed, there is no way it can go unquestioned.
The first might be the potential damage to the tubes due to an earthquake or any external or internal impact. The Virgin Hyperloop one believes that they have solved the problem by building a thick steel tube, that is extremely difficult to puncture. Also, the tube is designed to stand the changes in pressure and air leaks, while keeping their structural integrity intact.
It is explained theoretically that, in case of any puncture in the tunnel or any of the tube, the pod will simply slow down due to the increase in air pressure. The pod then will be directed to the next tube with an extra boost. The virgin hyperloop one project includes the facility to section off the punctured tube to not let it disturb the whole route, and then re-pressurize it.
While we talk about the other safety concerns, virgin hyperloop says that millions of people already travel in vacuum sealed tubes at a very high speed every time we take a flight.
While the fascinating idea of traveling in Hyperloop may seem a little hard to imagine anytime soon, the technological advancement made in last few years and the rate of adapting the technology being immensely high, it seems to become a reality in very near future.
So, what do you think? Is Hyperloop going to change the world? When we will see the first Hyperloop in the world? Will Hyperloop come in existence anytime soon? How faster will be Hyperloop? What are the concerns with Hyperloop? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.
Author: – Saharsh W. S. Rathore