A hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation, first named as such in an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX. Drawing heavily from Robert Goddard’s vac train, a hyperloop comprises a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or objects at optimal speed and acceleration.

Elon Musk’s version of the concept, first publicly mentioned in 2012, incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.

The Hyperloop Alpha concept was first published in August 2013, proposing and examining a route running from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area roughly following the Interstate 5 corridor. The paper conceived of a hyperloop system that would propel passengers along the 350-mile (560 km) route at an average speed of around 600 mph (970 km/h), with a top speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h), allowing for a travel time of 35 minutes, which is considerably faster than current rail or air travel times. Preliminary cost estimates for this LA–SF suggested route were included in the white paper—US$6 billion for a passenger-only version, and US$7.5 billion for a somewhat larger-diameter version transporting passengers and vehicles- although transportation analysts had doubts that the system could be constructed on that budget; some analysts claimed that the Hyperloop would be several billion dollars overbudget, taking into consideration construction, development and operation costs.

And It has been tested already at Nevada. The Nevada test, in which a sled accelerated to 116 mph (187km/h) in 1.1 seconds, represents a very early proof of concept; there are a vast number of hurdles that the developers of Hyperloop still have to clear if the technology is to become a reality. Hyperloop One also announced a series of other partnerships, including Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting and the British engineering consultancy group Arup, who are currently working on London’s Crossrail.

“Hyperloop has the potential to solve many of today’s most complex long-distance transport issues,” said Gregory Hodkinson, Arup Group chairman, also in a statement. “If railways helped enable the first industrial revolution, Hyperloop has the potential to do the same for the information economy, overcoming distances and creating connections between people, places, ideas and opportunities.”

Categories: Technology