The Future of Transport: The Hyperloop

The 5th mode of transport: 700mph, London To Manchester in 18 minutes.

Transportation has changed dramatically throughout the years. Advances in technology have allowed people to travel farther, faster and explore more territory. I feel, there seems to be a lack of innovation on modes of transport, hence the US and UK still wanting to build these expensive, energy ineffienct High Speed Rails. Hyperloop, this idea should change that (shout out to Elon Musk for the idea).

Before we continue, let’s look into our 4 main modes of transport;

  1. Boat
    1818 the Black Ball Line founded in NYC offered the first commercial regular passenger ship.
  2. Train
    1825, north-england England the first public railway was opened using steam locomotives.
  3. Car
    1886, the worlds first (practical) car was built: The Benz Patent-Motorwagen. (No, Henry Ford did not invent cars!)
  4. Airplanes
    1914, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line became the world’s first scheduled passenger airline service, operating between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida.

It’s been a 100 years since the 4th mode of transport was introduced for commercial use. I think it’s time we think of another.

The 5th! — The Hyperloop.

The Hyperloop on the surface is essentially a super bullet train that has the potential to go 760 mph, just below supersonic speed. Let’s put this into perspective; the Japanese Maglev Train, the fastest train in the world and that goes approx 372 mph. The commerical planes we fly range between 500–600 mph.

How it works
The speed of the Hyperloop is due to the elimination of Friction. The train will use a technology called passive magnetic levitation. Rather than wheels, the Hyperloop will use air bearings for pods instead, this will have the pod floating on air. Both reduces resistance similar to the levitating Japanese Maglev train, which allow it to go up to super speeds.

The Hyperloop will be built within lower pressured tunnel. Air pressure will be reduced to a minimum, this can be done by placed air pumps. Reducing the air resistance makes this more energy efficient too.

The Hyperloop will be built within lower pressured tunnel. Air pressure will be reduced to a minimum, this can be done by placed air pumps. Reducing the air resistance makes this more energy efficient too.

Musk has suggested that solar panels running on the top of the tunnels could generate enough electricity to power the system.

The problem the Hyperloop is trying to solve
Travelling from A-B quicker. If this were to work (It will) you could travel from London to Edinburgh in 30 minutes. Try that on a train or car today, especially during rush hour, it would take over 5 hours.

The Hyperloop would reduce congestion, reduce pollution, emission and improve the quality of the environment.

Self sustaining + Enviornment friendly 
To install the Hyperloop overtime is actually cheaper than the alternatives we have today. You would be able to place solar panels on top of the tubes and the Hyperloop would more than likely generate far in excess they needed to run. Excess energy would be able to be stored too.

Self-sustaining.

Cost
Elon Musk has suggested that a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles hyperloop would cost $6 billion, or $11.5 million a mile, less than one-tenth the estimated cost of planned high-speed rail on that route. Comparitavley, the High Speed Rail they’re buidling along side the same route is costing $68 billion.

Immune to Earthquakes
By having the Hyperloop on pylons, allows flexibility to withstand the earthquake motions while maintaining the Hyperloop tube alignment.

Another benefit of it being built on pylons, you can almost entirely avoid the need to buy land. Causing minimal disruption to Farmland and so on. The tunnels envisioned are metal tubes, elevated as an overground system. It could also run as an underground system too.

Interior
Aka the passenger capsule will be Cool as hell. Seats, luggage compartments, entertainment displays.

Concept design: Interior
Concept design: Interior with entertainment system

Development

The plan is to have a competition for students with their various pod designs in the summer of 2016 and the winner will be able to test on Space X’s 1-mile track.

There are 3 companies currently working on Hyperloop

Hyperloop One (previously Hyperloop Technologies)
Shervin Pishevar, co-founder aims to shuttle passengers and cargo in high-speed pods that are smaller than most planes and trains and designed to depart as often as every 10 seconds. “Hyperloop will be operational, somewhere in the world, by 2020.”

Hyperloop One track being built

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT)
Currently building a 5 mile test track, which will be completed in 32 months at the cost of $150m.

TransPod
They’re building a vehicle designed to target speeds in excess of 760 mph. Plan to build a commercial vehicle by 2020, thinking of a route between Montreal-Toronto.

Conclusion

In the UK we in the process of building our own High Speed Rail. This is to connect the neighbouring cities, in hope by connecting us further will boost their economies. I’m completely against it, I think we should go for something more futuristic, radical and more environment friendly (Hyperloop). We are already behind China, Japan pertaining to Transrail, why do something they did in the 60's?

Look the Hyperloop is

  • Safer
  • Faster
  • Cheaper
  • More convenient
  • Immune to bad weather
  • Sustainably self-powering
  • Resistant to natural causes
  • Not disruptive
  • Could work on Mars

The high-speed transport system would not only be able to transport people but vehicles too. Do a normal 5-hour car journey in just 35 minutes. Whilst only costing $6/7bn over 20 years whereas our alternative being the High speed being developed in SF — LA costing $68bn! Ticket prices of $20 for a one-way trip for the passenger version of Hyperloop, far cheaper than tickets over the same amount of distance. Give me a strong enough reason why this isn’t the next frontier of travel.

Welcome to the Future.
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