Ever since humans began to invent, we were trying to find ways to go faster. From creating saddles and horse drawn carriages to creating cars and airplanes, we always have striven for faster and faster means of transportation. The current fastest mode of commercial transportation is air transportation, with the average speed of a passenger plane being 540 miles per hour. However, inventor Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, proposed an idea back in late 2012 for a new mode of transportation that’s even faster than an airplane. Enter the Hyperloop.
The Hyperloop is a tube that Musk claims can go at 700 mph. The basic concept is that you step into the pod inside the tube, and the tube propels those inside of it to where they need to go. However, it’s not as simple as just going at 700 mph. The interesting thing is how the Hyperloop would do it. The Hyperloop would use magnetic accelerators, and would be pushed by the force these magnets generate. The tubes would also purportedly contain a low pressure environment, surrounding the pods with an air cushion that would allow it to travel with minimal resistance, allowing it to glide. The Hyperloop is also planned to be solar powered as well. However, Musk is not the one building the Hyperloop. Instead, he challenged engineers in 2015 to try their hand at making a successful Hyperloop system, with the track being built by SpaceX. In early 2016, the design competition was concluded, and 27 submissions were able to test their designs. The winner of the design competition was MIT, who created a pod that has a fail safe brake system, and use magnets to levitate and keep the Hyperloop on track.
Interestingly enough, some countries are already requesting a working Hyperloop of their own, despite no model having been yet successfully created that allowed for people to actually travel (the MIT model didn’t have enough space for people or cargo). Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates, made a deal in late 2016 with the startup Hyperloop One to make a Hyperloop that goes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Scientists from Dubai will work with Hyperloop one in order to attempt to make the 90 mile journey complete-able in just 12 minutes. The company predicts that within approximately 5 years, the Hyperloop system will be built. Hyperloop One has recently had success in their development of the Hyperloop. The company used a sled to test the track, and the sled was able to reach an acceleration of 2.5Gs. While still unable to reach the speeds Musk proposed, the sled proves the efficiency of the track, and demonstrates the possibility of a future where speed is simple to achieve. The Hyperloop is speeding towards its completion, and in a few years, we might end up taking the Hyperloop to get to work, college, or visit relatives. The future of transportation seems bright.
To learn more about Hyperloop One, visit their website here