The future of transportation is near. What if we could travel on land at speeds that rival airplanes? Thanks to new technological innovations and motivated venture capitalists such as Elon Musk, this vision may soon be a reality.
Say hello to Hyperloop
Hyperloop is the name of the new system, created by a series of vacuum tubes that can transport passengers and cargo inside extremely low-pressure capsules at subsonic speeds. The idea has been floating around scientific circles as early as the 19th century, but nearly 200 years later, it may soon become our newest preferred method of transportation.
Once completed, the technology will have capsules levitated by air pressure or magnetic rails. Passengers will then glide along the enclosed tubes twice as fast as high speed trains, shaving significant time of their travels and changing the face of transport as we know it.
Connecting cities like metro stops
It’s not yet certain when we can hop on, but many innovative companies and individuals are working hard to get the Hyperloop up and running. One such company, LA-based Hyperloop One announced a few months ago that they have full tested the system inside a vacuum environment. According to co-founder Shervin Pishevar, “we’ll be able to move between cities as if cities are metro stops.” If successfully implemented, a trip between Berlin and Munich could be completed in less than 30 minutes.
But despite the early stages of the process, the big players in the Hyperloop game are already proposing new routes and working diligently to get investors and governments on board. Already, there are some early agreements about a route between Brno and Prague in the Czech Republic to Bratislava in Slovakia. At the Vision for Europe summit in Amsterdam, Hyperloop One announced a proposal that would connect more than 75 million Europeans living across 44 cities.
During the event Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment said “Hyperloop can be a game changer. The Netherlands has every reason to encourage innovative mobility. If we don’t our country will grind to a halt.” Benefits of the system also include reducing carbon emissions and traffic jams caused by vehicles on the road.
But still in the testing phases
The risk of a new technology always requires intense testing and experimentation. Hyperloop One tested a system this past May where the prototype levitated for 5.3 seconds, and reached a speed of 113 km/h. Josh Giegel, president of engineering at Hyperloop One feels confident in the results. “We’ve tested our hyperloop system; we know it works, and we’re ready to deploy it to the rest of the world.”
The next step of testing will seek to get systems running up to 400 km/h.