A few articles ago I discussed the pros and cons of flying cars, one of the many new technologies that will aid future transportation. However, there is a new form of transportation that some of you may have already heard about. Known as the Virgin Hyperloop, this company wants to transport passengers from Las Vegas to Los Angeles: using a vacuum.
If the image that comes to mind is seeing a human jump into a pod and watching them go at supersonic speeds through a tube, you’re really not that far off. The only difference between this description and the actual design is that it’s not a single person pod, it’s going to a train of some sort. Virgin Hyperloop’s goal is to get people and cargo from one place to another at airplane speeds, but at a significantly cheaper price. How fast do airplanes fly? Pretty fast. Most airplanes cruise at around 570 mph. This train plans to go at around 600 mph, though it has only reached 243 mph during testing.
How is it going to work?
The original Hyperloop design uses a linear motor to accelerate and decelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle would glide silently for miles at speeds up to 760 mph with very low turbulence. The system is proposed to be entirely autonomous and quiet. Additionally, as Hyperloop is proposed to be built on columns or tunneled underground, this could eliminate the dangers of at-grade crossings and require smaller rights of way than high-speed rail or a highway. Finally, the hyperloop is going to be fully electric, meaning zero emissions.
When can we expect it?
Hyperloop’s publicly stated goal is to be able to provide a fully functional hyperloop system by 2021. They aim to achieve safety certification by 2025 and begin commercial operations by 2030. The company is working with states across the country with the ultimate goal of connecting the country from coast to coast.