What is the new Hyperloop everyone is talking about? The Hyperloop is the next mode of transportation that was proposed by Elon Musk. Musk is well known for founding SpaceX and Telsa. He came up with the concept after realizing how overcrowded the freeways are becoming, and evaluating how long air travel can take to get through security, board, take off and land, and realized there had to be a better way.
The Hyperloop is basically a capsule hovering in a low pressure tube above ground for hundreds of miles between cities. This high speed system would allow people to travel 760 mph, as fast as the speed of sound. The goal is to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 35 minutes instead of a 6-7hour drive. Although all the details are being worked out, there is talk of it becoming a reality in 2018.
So far, two companies have already been created and have committed themselves to making their own Hyperloops. The first company, called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, offers its engineers stock options in exchange for their part time work. They are working on a test track. The other company called Hyperloop One, previously called Hyperloop Technologies, has already secured $26 million in funding and plans to raise another $80 million. They have also been building their own track and have recently hosted the first test in Nevada.
SpaceX is also holding a competition which thousands of engineering students will participate in to develop the pods in which the ride will take place. One team consists of engineering students from MIT, who was awarded Best Overall Design during the design competition against 115 teams. They will also be amongst the 30 teams to test their pods in California this summer.
The Hyperloop is proposed to work by using a vacuum tube with almost all the air removed. The pods would be pushed by a series of electromagnets or by electric motor. The lack of friction due to the low air pressure would allow it to travel so fast. “We actually only need propulsion for about 5% of the track. So we get you up to speed, could be 750 mph, and then we can glide for 100 miles without applying any other energy because we have little friction,” commented Rob Lloyd, the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. He also said that the main advantage is how little energy it requires. The Hyperloop One also claims that it will be “completely self sufficient, solar panels placed along the track produce excess amounts of the energy that is actually required to run the system.” We are excited to see how the Hyperloop technology continues to develop and how quickly this could be part of our daily life.
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