For the first time in the short history of the Hyperloop, a government official has stated that the fabled East Coast project — connecting New York City and Washington D.C. with stops along the way in Philadelphia and Baltimore — is coming. In a video posted on Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan’s Twitter, when asked what he thinks about the Hyperloop the governor said, “I think it’s coming to Maryland,” and told followers to “Get hyped.”
However, the governor may have jumped the gun a bit. In response to the story breaking, Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify the company’s position, saying “Not ready to do a proper announcement yet, but maybe in a month or so. Maryland has been awesome to work with and just wanted to say thanks.”
Not ready to do a proper announcement yet, but maybe in a month or so. Maryland has been awesome to work with and just wanted to say thanks.
It is not clear exactly where the project stands in terms of approval, yet these messages make it seem like negotiations are going well.
Ultimate Zip Lines
Tons of speculation surrounded Musk’s announcement of his creation of The Boring Company, including that it was all a big joke. Now, it looks like the company is yet another component needed to make Hyperloop a reality.
The plan is to build tunnels under existing state highways. “The tunnels will be built primarily under existing state highways, and the state is supporting the project and will work with the company to expedite the permitting and approval process,” a representative for the Governor’s office said in an email to Business Insider.
Hyperloop could usher in the age of the supercity. The high speed pods could allow passengers to travel from New York to D.C. in as little as 29 minutes, a trip that approaches or exceeds 5 hours (depending on the route) by car, and nearly three hours by conventional train.
Elon Musk has announced via Twitter that The Boring Company’s newest invention for tunnel excavation is “almost ready.” This, the second boring machine, will be dubbed Line-Storm, a moniker inspired by the poem “A Line-Storm Song” by Robert Frost.
Musk went on to respond to a Twitter user that asked whether The Boring Company was a real enterprise. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO confirmed that it was, and stated that a physical tunnel is being created and is growing longer every day.
The tunnel being excavated by The Boring Company is a test site for hyperloop technology. Musk has already shared images demonstrating that the underground tract is large enough for a car to pass through.
Digging tunnels via conventional means would be a big obstacle for the introduction of underground hyperloop infrastructure. Musk is confident that — with help from their new machines — The Boring Company can perform the work relatively cheaply and efficiently. It remains to be seen what kind of advantages Line-Storm offers over its predecessor, the “Godot.”
Musk has previously stated that he’s received permission from a federal official to continue to expand his hyperloop project. With a working car elevator and this new tunneling machine, it seems like all the pieces for his vision for the future of transport are falling into place.
All over the world, the way people get around is changing quickly. However, it’s possible that there’s no greater hub for developing the future of transportation technology than the Netherlands.
The country is uniquely poised to facilitate this kind of work. It’s got great technological infrastructure, with complete 4G coverage that helps vehicles grab routing information and other updates quickly and efficiently. Moreover, it’s relatively small, making it easier to implement big changes to the transport network than it would be in a country like the US.
Coupled with strong governmental backing, these factors are incubating a lot of interesting projects that could have a profound effect on how the Dutch get from A to B.
From Hyperloop to Hire Cars
At the inaugural SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2016, a team from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands managed to come out on top in terms of overall score. The Netherlands is a promising hotspot for research into Elon Musk’s potentially groundbreaking new form of city-to-city transport.
However, we’re not just seeing projects that aim to completely reimagine transport. There are also ongoing efforts to use technology to improve upon existing methods of getting around.
In a major metropolitan area, it doesn’t always make sense to own a car if it’s only going to be in use every now and again. That’s why car sharing programs are so popular — and Dutch startup Next Urban Mobility wants to go beyond what’s currently available to produce a “Netflix for transportation.”
Such a platform would give users on-demand access to hub spanning everything from cars to bicycles, public transport to delivery drivers.
Using public transport also makes things safer because there’s fewer drivers on the road, and if self-driving cars become the norm, traffic accidents and deaths caused by them could go down substantially.
One major focus for the organizations looking into new modes of transport in the Netherlands is sustainability. Various governments are set to enforce a ban on the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles in the next decade. Alongside that process, there’s a lot of ongoing research into other ways of making travel more environmentally friendly.
Eurocarbon is producing composite materials commonly used in the automotive industry that consume up to 40% less energy, without sacrificing anything in terms of strength and quality. Solliance is producing high grade thin film solar panels that could harvest the energy that powers tomorrow’s vehicles.
Crucially, organizations like Connekt and Amsterdam Smart City are helping to forge partnerships between people from all walks of life and companies with this kind of expertise in order to promote projects that will benefit communities. The future of transportation is going to require collaboration between various different specializations, so bringing high-spec manufacturers together with the designers and engineers that might utilize their materials is hugely valuable.
The Netherlands seems to be taking a very proactive stance on the future of transport, in all its forms. In many ways, this is a win-win — the best prospects look set to make travel easier, faster, and safer, but they should also be a major boon for the environment.
The collaboration, officially called the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition, brings together the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the KC Tech Council, the University of Missouri System, and the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia. The coalition believes a Missouri Hyperloop route would benefit over 5 million residents, enabling them to reach a number of universities, businesses, and research hubs in less than 25 minutes.
The state of Missouri proposed the route to Hyperloop One two years ago, but to truly prove the route’s potential success, the coalition is currently trying to secure between $1 – 1.5 million to fund a proper study.
Missouri isn’t the only state that wants to introduce a new route. Shortly after Hyperloop One announced the aforementioned route winners, the company and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) revealed a new partnership to study the possibilities and benefits of a route joining Cheyenne to Pueblo.
The Mexloop will cut the six-hour trip from Mexico City to Guadalajara down to just 45 minutes, with stations built near airports and rail freight hubs, as well as metro and commuter rail stations. The Mexloop will pass through Querétaro and León to maximize existing transport infrastructure.
“A Hyperloop portal connected to the city’s light rail and transit line could shift more travelers to environmentally friendlier options and strengthen the city’s transit-oriented development strategy,” Hyperloop One research analyst Darryle Ulama wrote in a blog post. “Linking Mexico’s two powerhouse urban economies would also result in transformative social and economic impact for the entire central region.”
If everything goes according to plan, the Mexloop team and Hyperloop One hopes their system will have serviced 68 million people by 2020.
Hyperloop One recently received $85 million in funding to bring their plans, including the Mexloop, to fruition. However, they’re just one of several startups currently working on developing these futuristic pods that were first brought to the world’s attention by SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk in 2012.
Hyperloop One announced the conclusion of a new round of funding on September 21, revealing an additional $85 million was received from investors, including DP World, Caspian VC Partners, WTI, and OurCrowd.com. This new investment puts the company at $245 million raised since it was launched in 2014.
“We initially targeted $50 million and ended up raising $85 million instead,” said Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar in a statement. “We’ve proven that our technology works and that Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has built an operational Hyperloop system. As we move towards the commercialization of our technology, we’ll continue to work with governments and embrace public-private partnerships to re-imagine transportation as we know it.”
If there is one thing that Elon Musk’s Hyperloop has shown, it’s humanity’s relentless desire to make transport faster, cheaper and simpler for all. Revolutionizing transit is far from simple, however. From the rise of the automobile to supersonic jets that are trying to cut transatlantic flight times in half, countless modes of transport have fought for domination, leaving systems that were ahead of their time in the dust. It’s these ambitious and expensive projects whose inventors dared to dream that inspired modern transit systems of today.
1776 — David Bushnell’s Turtle
During the Revolutionary War, David Bushnell — an American inventor — built the world’s first underwater vessel, meant for use in active combat. Dubbed the “American Turtle,” it was meant to be able to deliver underwater mines with a passenger on board. The nut-shaped oak structure was able to rise and submerge, and move forward and backward. An interior chamber could be filled with water to control buoyancy, and a vertical propeller on the roof helped it ascend in the water. All attempts of using the Turtle in active combat against the British Royal Navy failed, however, and the designs were only revealed to the public later by Thomas Jefferson in a lecture in 1787.
1870 — Beach’s Pneumatic Underground Railway
Predating the New York City subway, the Beach Pneumatic Transit was a 95 meter (312 feet) long subway line that opened in 1870. Rather than propelling cars through tunnels using conventional engines, Beach’s concept was based on the idea of a pneumatic system that used air to push the cars along the tunnel. A lot of questions remain about the feasibility of such a system on a larger scale, and no further tunnels beyond the initial demonstration were ever built.
1895-1909 — The Hotchkiss Bicycle Railroad
The peculiar bicycle commuter rail called the “Bicycle Railroad” was invented by Arthur Hotchkiss in the late 19th century. After finding an investor in 1892, the first 1 meter (4 feet) high, 3.2 kilometer (2 mile) metal track was built to connect Smithville to Mt. Holly in New Jersey. With one large wheel in the front and a small one behind, up to two passengers could glide on carts along the track, cutting down on the conventional commuting times while moving at almost 30 km/h (19 mph). Admission cost ten cents, but marshy weather, lots of mud, and farm animals hindered a smooth ride. It eventually became increasingly unpopular, and the Railway went bankrupt in 1898.
1900 — The Trottoir Roulant at the Paris World’s Fair
Built for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, a mechanical sidewalk was installed and opened to the public. Running at up to 10km/h (6mph), the “wooden serpent” carried visitors a quarter mile through Paris, up to thirty feet above the ground. With sweeping, panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower, the moving sidewalk made sure visitors did not tire themselves out while enjoying the World’s Fair’s impressive number of sights. Balancing posts made sure that nobody toppled over while getting off and on. It was allegedly capable of moving 31,680 passengers per hour.
1929 — Bennie Railplane
The Bennie Raiplane was a monorail-like transport system from 1929 that used suspended rail cars hanging from a single rail with wheels underneath for stabilization. Electric motors powered propellers at each end for acceleration. Passengers were supposed to be able to travel at top speeds of 241 km/h (150 mph), cutting down the time it took to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh to just 20 minutes. A 1930 test track was built as a proof-of-concept, but due to recovery from the Great Depression and with WWII around the corner, inventor George Bennie never found financial backing.
The Brennan Gyro-Monorail was created by Australian inventor Louis Brennan around the turn of the century. Two large, vertical gyroscopes mounted side by side spun in opposite directions to keep the single-rail train level. While the design was tested with 40 soldiers on board (see image above) in 1909, the design had a number of challenges to overcome — each car had to be outfitted with its own pair of gyroscopes and with friction from only a single monorail track, a lot more power was required to pull additional cars. And that’s not to mention the catastrophic failure that would result from a single gyroscope failing.
The Aérotrain was a French hovertrain developed in the mid-sixties for high-speed travel, designed to overcome the need for complex and expensive magnetic levitation. A number of test tracks were built around France throughout the 60s and 70s, the longest measuring 20 km (12.43 miles) in Loiret, France. Compressors on board forced air underneath the train, while aircraft engines fastened to the back took care of acceleration. The train moved along an inverted-T shaped track. After failing to attract investors and with the surging popularity of the TGV (a high-speed train network in France, still in use to this day), the unique project was abandoned in 1977.
Electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, coupled with advanced autonomous systems, are shaping the future of passenger transportation. These technologies will define daily commuting experience to be more sustainable, clean, and safe. If there’s one problem autonomous EVs aren’t excepted from just yet, however, it’ll be heavy traffic.
No matter how clean and safe your car is, if you find yourself in a traffic jam, well…you’re stuck — unless your car can fly or you’re traveling underground. Luckily, there are some that want to do just that.
Flying Taxis: Uber and Volocopter
Everyone wants a flying car, ever since The Jetsons showed us that it’s an ideal mode of transportation for the family. Flying cars are no longer just in the realm of science fiction, though. A number of companies have been working on their versions of flying cars, and ride-hailing company Uber is only one of them.
In May 2016, Hyperloop One kicked off its Global Challenge, an open call for scientists and engineers to submit their proposals for where Hyperloop routes should be implemented. Now, the company has announced the ten winning teams.
Hyperloop One will now work with the groups that submitted these proposals to investigate how viable each route is. The full list of winners is as follows:
Mexico: Mexico City-Guadalajara
“Our successful test this summer made Hyperloop a reality, and now we’re ready to bring our hyperloop system to the world,” said Shervin Pishevar, the co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One in a press release.
This contest has also fostered public-private partnership between Hyperloop One and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). With support from engineering firm AECOM, the two organizations will embark on a feasibility study in Colorado.
The purpose of the Hyperloop One Global Challenge was very simple — to accelerate the preliminary work needed to bring about a practical implementation of the company’s technology. Any of the ten proposed routes, or the partnership with CDOT, could potentially produce the first operational, publicly accessible hyperloop track.
When Elon Musk first published his Hyperloop Alpha paper in 2013, the idea seemed likely to be many years from becoming a reality. Last month, Hyperloop One CEO Robert Lloyd stated his intent, in an interview with The Next Web, to have at least three hyperloops completed around the world by 2021.
It’s easy to see why the company is eager to push forward, as Musk is forging ahead with an alternative futuristic transport vision via The Boring Company. It seems more than likely that we’ll see a functional hyperloop route sooner rather than later — the question is, who will be behind it?
China once held the title for the world’s fastest train, but a devastating crash in 2011 forced the country to slow down their transits, lest they experience another tragic event.
Next month, however, China will regain is lost title, as it plans to introduce several new bullet trains that will move at the speeds necessary to once again be the world’s fastest. Prior to the aforementioned accident, China’s bullet trains traveled at 350 km/h (217 mph), but were then reduced to 250-300 km/h (155-186 mph).
Come September 21, when the new trains are up and running, speeds will return to 350 km/h, but will be capable of going 400 km/h (248 mph). For comparison, the still-in-development Hyperloop One recently reached speeds of 308 km/h (192 mph), though the plan is to hit 402 km/h (250 mph) while still in testing.
Zhao Jian, Beijing Jiaotong University professor and a leading researcher on China’s high-speed railway network, told the South China Morning Post that in order to avoid more accidents at higher speeds, the railway operator will need to reduce the number of trains in use at one time.
According to the Associated Press, China has laid over 20,000 kilometers (12,400 miles) of high-speed rail, and intends to add another 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) by 2020. To date, over $360 billion has been spent on the railway’s creation.
The Hyperloop One’srecent speed record of 308 kmh (192 mph) is an important step (however small) toward surpassing the first goal of the Hyperloop: to achieve quicker transit than other alternatives. But, while the hyperloop was initially designed to achieve 1,200 km/h (750 mph) with a chic micro-craft built for three passengers, it is developing into something quite different.
In his original outline, Musk illuminated some glaring problems at the conceptual stage of several other “high speed” rail systems — namely the high expense per mile, the cost of operation, and that other propositions were less safe than flying by two orders of magnitude.
No one thought the proposal would come so far a mere four years after Elon Musk released his initial plans for Hyperloop system. But with tubes 3.3 meters (11 feet) in diameter, the craft looks more like the cargo version from Musk’s original concept. Instead of a bobsled, we’re seeing something more like an ordinary train. Additionally, the thin concrete pylons planned for minimal terrestrial footprint will be significantly larger. Since this is more on the scale of a train or highway, the disruptive potential of compact tubes would seem, alas, reneged.
The environmental pitch of Hyperloop was simple. Having speed, high acceleration and deceleration, and a high frequency of available stops would give the world’s population centers incentive to switch away from “traditional” modes of transportation. This would mean less greenhouse gases emitted, potentially slowing the advance of global climate change.
However, the recent Hyperloop One test shows multiple branching routes that resemble more of a linear track than a loop, which was a key factor for energy efficiency of the system. Without high-speed winds that travel in a constant direction, the main form of propulsion would seem to default to the magnetic levitation system, omitting the complex on-boarding/off-boarding feature that made Hyperloop feel not only innovative, but feasible.
But last month Musk moved back towards that feasible direction when he announced that Boring Company’s boring (if not mysterious) tunnels could create a Hyperloop vacuum-tunnel betwixt New York and Washington, D.C., with a transit time of 29 minutes. He then met with Hawthorne, Calif., Mayor Alex Vargas to explain the physics, and (presumably) the economics of implementing the Hyperloop, which on the scale of the state of California, was estimated to cost $7.5 billion.
It may sound cynical, but — at its core — engineering is physics with compromise. And as these compromises mount, it’s difficult to keep sight of the final goal. But as with any technological revolution, it takes a prolonged and sober engagement with the real-world drawbacks, and even failures, to predict the final outcome.
The Hyperloop’s story is going full circle, returning to the man who first encouraged the idea: Elon Musk. Four years after releasing the white paper that started the modern Hyperloop frenzy, the entrepreneur and innovator has confirmed that his Boring Company is working on their own version of the high-speed transport system.
This is a bit of a surprise as for four years, the CEO had been encouraging others to pursue the technology through various initiatives. These included a competition run by SpaceX, which previously noted on their website that they won’t be developing a Hyperloop themselves — a message that disappeared this year.
The news isn’t entirely unexpected, though, as clues that Musk was working on a Hyperloop have been surfacing recently. The first was the Boring Company’s website, which stated that the electric skates that would run through their tunnels could easily be transformed to support a Hyperloop by adding a vacuum shell. Then Musk announced via Twitter in July that he’d received “verbal permission” for a DC to New York Hyperloop.
Now, both Bloomberg and WIRED say they’ve received confirmation from sources close to Musk that he plans to pursue a Boring Company Hyperloop.
“At the Boring Company, we plan to build low cost, fast-to-dig tunnels that will house new high-speed transportation systems,” a Boring Company spokesperson told WIRED. “Most will be standard pressurized tunnels with electric skates going 125+ mph. For long distance routes in straight lines, such as NY to DC, it will make sense to use pressurized pods in a depressurized tunnel to allow speeds up to approximately 600+ mph (aka Hyperloop).”
All these efforts have received considerable attention and financial support thanks in part to Musk’s encouragement. Now, some are anxious that the Boring Company CEO might snuff out the competition.
“You would at least have wanted Musk to say, ‘OK guys, how can we do this together?’ or ‘How can I help?’, rather than saying ‘Hey, I’m just gonna do it, thank you for making this known worldwide even more than it was before and showing the progress and making sure that people believe in it,’” Dirk Ahlborn, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies’ CEO, told WIRED.
Perhaps Musk found that other Hyperloop plans weren’t moving fast enough. “He said at the time [he released his white paper] that he would only seek to commercialize Hyperloop if after a few years other companies were not moving quickly enough,” a Boring Company spokesperson said in a statement, according to WIRED. “While we’re encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible.”
Brogan BamBrogan, founder of Hyperloop company Arrivo, believes the move could spark industry-wide progress. “The industry can’t get built by any one company, and to have a heavyweight like Elon put his hat in the ring says a lot of good things,” he told WIRED. “It validates the market and the idea that the tech can create some real value for people.”
One thing is for sure. With Musk officially in the Hyperloop game, the futuristic transport may see commercial use sooner rather than later.
Hyperloop One tests are growing ever more impressive, reaching faster speeds and, in the process, showing us what the technology is really capable of. During the latest evaluation, on Saturday, the pod reached speeds of 308 km/h (192 mph) down the company’s 500-meter (1,640-foot) test track in Nevada, before gliding to a graceful halt.
This is a remarkable improvement on the company’s first full system test earlier this summer. During this outing, it traveled farther by a factor of 4.5 times, reached speeds 2.7 times faster, and achieved 3.5 times the horsepower.
Shervin Pishevar, Hyperloop One co-founder, told CNBC, “We’ve got the Hyperloop working. It’s the dawn now […] of the commercialization of the hyperloops. We’ve got conversations and dialogues with governments around the world.”
Pishevar was referring to the worldwide travel he has been undertaking recently. The company is currently looking at various cities in the U.S. to build a loop and is also planning on installing the system in Europe. In fact, Hyperloop One is already undertaking feasibility studies in Finland, Moscow, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.K.
Despite these successes, there are still hurdles that need to be overcome before we see the transportation system of the future. Most prominently, it will need to achieve the right-of-way allowances, land acquisitions, and regulatory approvals that other means of transportation like the railway enjoy.
However, this announcement gives us a reassuring reminder that the future of transport isn’t far away.
But, in order for this machine to successfully complete such a monumental task, the physics of tunnels must, obviously, be well understood. This is why Musk recently met with Hawthorne Mayor Alex Vargas, who has a lengthy background in physics, to discuss the matter.
Discussing physics of tunnels with Mayor Vargas (who has a physics background). Hawthorne support for The Boring Company much appreciated. https://t.co/UAOCildbnT
Mayor Vargas told The Daily Breeze, “It’s an awesome feeling knowing that the future of transportation is being developed here in Hawthorne, in particular this underground tunneling project…Hawthorne is booming because of SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Co. [Musk] basically reaffirmed his commitment to helping the community.”
Reporter Sandy Mazza of The Daily Breeze shared images from the meeting via a tweet.
These tunnels will be a feat of physics and engineering. Musk has previously suggested that you could potentially “have 30 layers of tunnels.” His TBM would act as a sort of “mole,” boring through practically anything that would realistically be found in its path, from soft sand to hard rock.
Layers upon layers of tunnels, weighed down by a wide variety of vehicles, will be an ambitious creation, but they could be a game-changer in the future of transportation.
Elon Musk shocked the internet Thursday when he announced that The Boring Company had received “verbal governmental approval” to build the DC-New York Hyperloop with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia. A flurry of speculations on what this might mean quickly arose, fanned by the fact that there is no such thing as “verbal governmental approval” — municipal projects cannot be commenced without written approvals, contracts, and other more formal measures.
If you want this to happen fast, please let your local & federal elected representatives know. Makes a big difference if they hear from you.
Officials in those four cities were even more surprised than everyone else.
“Nobody in City Hall, or any of our city agencies, has heard from Mr. Musk or any representatives of his company,” deputy press secretary for the New York’s mayor office, Ben Sarle, told Business Insider. Philadelphia’s deputy communications director for the city of Philadelphia, Mike Dunn, told the publication, “We do not what he means when he says he received ‘verbal government approval.’ There are numerous hurdles for this unproven ‘hyperloop’ technology before it can become reality.”
The Guardian reports that a spokesman with the Maryland department of transportation asked, “Who gave him permission to do that?”
Musk finally answered that question early this morning on Twitter.
Verbal approval was at Federal level. Still a lot of work before formal, written approval, but this opens door for state & city discussions.
Musk’s revelation is confirmation what Business Insider was told by a White House spokesperson referred by the Department of Transportation: “We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects, and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector.”
“The Boring Company has had a number of promising conversations with local, state, and federal government officials,” a spokesperson from The Boring Company told Business Insider. “With a few exceptions, feedback has been very positive and we have received verbal support from key government decision-makers for tunneling plans, including a Hyperloop route from New York to Washington DC.”
This development means that the Hyperloop still has to gain approval from the effected states, cities, and other regional agencies. Some officials seemed nonplussed, yet excited about the project upon it’s confusing announcement, perhaps signalling that this process may go smoothly.
Anthony McCarthy, the spokesman for the mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, told The Guardian: “Mr Musk’s announcement on Twitter was the first that the city heard of the Hyperloop project. ” However, Pugh said she thinks the project could “create new opportunities for Baltimore and transform the way we link to neighboring cities.”
LaToya Foster, the spokeswoman for Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington DC, said to The Guardian: “We can’t wait to hear more.”
Musk may not be the only person that state officials will be hearing from. He also urged followers who care about the project to contact their local officials, saying in a tweet, “If you want this to happen fast, please let your local and federal elected representatives know. Makes a big difference if they hear from you.” Then, about 90 minutes after Musk’s initial announcement, he mentioned his project in Chicago, which has received high levels of local support.
City of Chicago already approached us about doing a high speed tunnel from O’Hare to downtown. They’ve been great.
This, along with his tweet that Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, could be added to the line, may reveal Musk’s true agenda with the first announcement: stirring up interest in the project, drawing local officials into the conversation, and ensuring throngs of people living in those cities would be listening and watching when the conversation began. Musk knows that local pressure from residents can help move the project forward, and he likes his timeline progression like he likes his intercity transportation — fast.
Elon Musk has announced via Twitter that he received verbal approval for this plan to build an underground Hyperloop between New York and Washington — which would also stop at Philadelphia and Baltimore. As a result, one could get from New York to D.C. in just 29 minutes.
City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city
It’s worth noting that the approval is only verbal at this point. Which means that it isn’t set in stone. Musk will likely still have to deal with regulatory concerns, and some red tape. He did note, however, that “support would be much appreciated,” in the meantime.
Musk also did not reveal who the permission came from or give any details concerning when the project will start and finish — although he did later reveal that he also plans to build a Hyperloop in Texas and the west coast.
For sure. First set of tunnels are to alleviate greater LA urban congestion. Will start NY-DC in parallel. Then prob LA-SF and a TX loop.
The Hyperloop seems to already be disrupting the transportation industry due to the incredibly short journey times, positive environmental consequences, and comparatively low cost of the project. As long as governmental support continues, this can only be a good thing.
In its first full system trial at the test track in Nevada, Hyperloop One has successfully created vacuum conditions that allowed it to travel at speeds of about 110 km/h (70 mph). While this does not seem dizzyingly fast, it means that the system achieved its primary function of reducing air resistance to a level similar to a plane flying at 61,000 meters (200,000 feet) — this is what will, eventually, allow it to travel at hyperspeed.
The achievement marks a successful jump over the first hurdle in a series that will lead to the Hyperloop’s implementation. The next test it will undertake is to travel 400 km/h (250 mph) on the same track, although the final goal will be to travel at speeds of up to 1,200 km/h (750 mph) in a real world setting. This break-neck speed should be easier to achieve on the intercity tracks that will be significantly longer track than the test course in Nevada, which would allow the pod to build up a little more steam.
City to City Transport
Hyperloop has significant advantages for travelers, the economy, and the environment. Eventually, it will be able to travel far faster than any method of land based transport currently available — with its closest competitor, the bullet train, only capable of speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph). Projections indicate that it will also be cheaper to build than bullet train systems. To compare, California’s bullet train will cost $12.7 billion to install, while Elon Musk predicts a Hyperloop will cost $7.5 billion.
The hyperloop will also beat out other means of transportation for convenience and value — it is designed to arrive at stops every 30 seconds. Due to this increased frequency and decreased cost, the hyperloop offers a viable alternative to road-based transport, which means that it will lower our emissions of greenhouse gases — a characteristic augmented by the installation of solar panels on the roofs of the carriages.
The Hyperloop, a transportation concept that features ultra-fast pods that run in specialized tubes, was first imagined by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk. Now, several startups are hard at work in turning this futuristic transportation system into reality. One of these is Pacific Hyperloop, and this team wants to bring you from Seattle to Portland in just 15 minutes.
Pacific Hyperloop was among the 35 finalists, out of 2,600 applicants worldwide, from last April’s Hyperloop One Global Challenge. Building a Hyperloop route connecting Seattle to Portland wasn’t a random idea. “Seattle and Portland are known for having some of the worst traffic in America (No. 4 and No. 7 respectively),” the group posted in their Change.org online petition. “Implementing Hyperloop would not only alleviate traffic on highways for others, but also create a consistent and reliable commuting experience that would not be affected by factors like car accidents or crazy weather.”
Hyperloop is all the rage in any talks of the future of public transportation. The concept was developed by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One to provide a high-speed rail connecting cities all over the world at never before seen speeds. There are currently dozens of proposals for installations across the globe, including these nine routes in Europe announced by the company at the beginning of the month.
When you go out of town, you usually need to buy a few nights at a hotel in addition to a plane, train, or bus ticket.
Brandan Siebrecht, a graduate architecture student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, wants to combine these components into one experience. He designed what he calls the “Hyperloop Hotel,” a system that would feature a transit system and 13 hotels in different cities throughout the United States.
Siebrecht is the student winner of this year’s Radical Innovation Award , a competition for imaginative hotel designs. In June, a jury of seven hotel investors, developers, and architects selected Driftscape as the one of two finalists out of over 65 submissions from 24 countries.
The futuristic concept would eliminate the need to buy separate transit tickets for most of the largest cities in the US. It calls for hotels in 13 locations — Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, DC, New York City, and Boston — which would all be connected by a “Hyperloop system.”
The design was inspired by DevLoop, a real test track for Hyperloop Onebeing developed north of Las Vegas. A concept first introduced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2013, a hyperloop is a mode of transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle through a reduced-pressure tube. Hyperloop One wants the system to be energy-efficient, autonomous, and quicker than a plane.
For a flat fee of $1,200, Hyperloop Hotel guests would be able to zoom quickly between the network of cities, all while never leaving their room, Siebrecht tells Business Insider. He hasn’t estimated what each night would cost yet.
“Guests would be able to travel to any hotel destination within the network and even visit multiple destinations in a single day,” Siebrecht said.
The size of the modular hotels, which Siebrecht estimates would cost around $10 million each to build, would depend on the location. Hotels in dense cities would likely have smaller footprints than ones in less dense areas.
Guest suites would be made of re-purposed shipping containers that Siebrecht says would be “outfitted for luxury.” Each would include an office, a living room with a flatscreen TV, a bedroom, and a bathroom.
There are no concrete plans to build the first Hyperloop Hotel, since the technology and infrastructure it would require doesn’t actually exist.
Siebrecht believes construction of his hotel concept could be feasible within the next five to 10 years.
“I believe the Hyperloop One is the next big innovation in transportation in the United States and possibly the world,” he said. “I wanted to explore ways in which this technology could transform the overall travel experience and hospitality.
Europe already enjoys an extensive and diverse system of railways. Still, there is always room for improvement, and an Elon Musk-inspired company is looking to introduce the continent to the next generation of travel.
Hyperloop One has unveiled their shortlist of potential European routes for their high-speed transportation project. Shervin Pishevar, the company’s co-founder and executive chairman, told CNBC, “Our vision is to, one day, connect all of Europe with our Hyperloop One system, networking the entire continent.”
The list was compiled through a global challenge initiated by Hyperloop One to find the cities that would benefit the most from the cutting-edge transportation system. According to CNBC, the proposed cities would “…connect more than 75 million people in 44 cities, spanning 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles).”
The nine finalists range from a 1,991 km (1,237 mile) route through Germany to a 90 km (56 mile) route connecting Estonia to Finland. Other proposed routes would connect parts of Poland, cities in the Netherlands, the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, Spain and the north African country of Morocco, and several points in the United Kingdom.
It’s no wonder so many countries are eager to welcome this technology to their regions. If the system can perform as promised, it would revolutionize how we transport not only people but also cargo. At its peak speed, a Hyperloop is expected to be capable of traveling more than 1,000 kmh (700 mph). The company boasts on its website that a trip between the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney, a distance of 878 km (546 miles), would take only 55 minutes.
A system of Hyperloops would not only make traveling easier, it would also have a positive impact on a region’s environment and economy. Ideally, the system will be able to generate more solar power than it consumes, making it an excellent green travel alternative to automobiles, trains, and airplanes. Tickets to ride could also cost as little as $25, often making the clean choice easily the best choice for travelers.
It looks like the Netherlands would soon join Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as the next European country to have a Hyperloop. A Dutch team from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) won this year’s edition of SpaceX’s competition to develop this next generation, super-fast transport technology, and they’re already setting up a full-scale testing center.
The Dutch team’s idea will be realized by tech startup Hardt Global Mobility, in partnership with TU Delft, the Dutch national railway NS, and construction company BAM. Building the 30 meter (98 foot) tube is the first step.
“In this facility we will test all systems that don’t require high speeds,” Hardt CEO Tim Houter told Reuters. “So think about the levitation system, but also the propulsion system, but really important, all the safety systems will be tested in this low-speed but full-scale testing facility.” The initial round of testing has already received $675,000 in funding. More would be needed for a high-speed test line by 2019 to accomplish their goal of setting up a Hyperloop system between Amsterdam and Paris by 2021.
First proposed in 2013 by SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk, the Hyperloop is transportation system for people and cargo that features pods traveling through tubes — or possibly tunnels — at roughly 1,126 k/h (700 mph). Apart from the European sites mentioned, other Hyperloop projects are already at work in Canada, Los Angeles, and Dubai.
Using magnets to propel trains is not a new technology but it is still far from being perfected or even just implemented on a large scale. There are currently only four operating systems in the world that rely on magnetic levitation. Two of the trains operate in China, the others are located in Japan and South Korea.
A video from YouTube channel Veritasiumtakes a look at the technology on a much smaller scale. Host Derek Muller talks to Casey Handmer, Levitation Engineer at Hyperloop One, who shows off the principles of the levitation behind Hyperloop’s transportation system using a 47 kg (105 lb) quadcopter.
Muller explains how the spinning magnets create the lift necessary to levitate the machine, and how the specific configuration of the magnets focuses its power in the desired direction.
Recently, Elon Musk let it slip that his Boring Company tunnels will work in tandem with Hyperloop’s pods. The system would use levitation technology to propel these pods at speeds exceeding 600 mph.
Hyperloop systems are not the only in development around the world, although they are the most high profile. Another train is in development in China that could connect people between distances similar to the distance between New York and Atlanta in less than two hours.
The most notable announcement that was finally confirmed? The Hyperloop.
The FAQ explains that Musk’s initial inspiration was: “to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic.” The solution is to go three-dimensional, which could be done using flying cars — an idea Musk doesn’t think is very viable — or to go underground. “The other option is to ‘go down’ and build tunnels,” the website states, as these provide a fair amount of perks, including weatherproofing and the practically limitless layers of tunnels that could be built…much better than malfunctioning cars potentially plummeting from the sky.
But there is a problem. First, there’s the cost. Second, existing tunnels can’t support the Hyperloop pods. Musk’s new company is out to fix this.
“Currently, tunnels are really expensive to dig, with some projects costing as much as $1 billion per mile. In order to make a tunnel network feasible, tunneling costs must be reduced by a factor of more than 10,” explains the new FAQ. To make the tunnel more cost effective and efficient, its diameter is going to be less than 4 meters (14 feet) — whereas normal tunnels (one-lane road tunnels) are usually about 8.5 meters (28 feet) in diameter. To do this, Musk’s tunnel company would use what it calls an “electric sled.”
Musk’s Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) — or Godot — is ready to start digging the first among these network of tunnels. However, as the TBM isn’t even as fast as a snail yet, Musk is determined to find ways to make tunnel digging faster — “to defeat the snail in a race” by increasing the TBM’s speed, which will also cut down costs.
So, there’s now a place to start digging this tunnel under Los Angeles and a machine to do it. But what is this tunnel really meant for? At first, many thought Musk’s tunnels would be like every other tunnel – except they would be longer and could potentially connect “LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood and Sherman Oaks,” as Musk said in an Instagram post.
However, as mentioned above, more details have come to light.
Since the company’s introduction, many (including Futurism) have speculated that the tunnels’ true purpose was to work in tandem with the Hyperloop. This is the real clincher here. It seems like The Boring Company isn’t just going to be for cars. “The electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour,” the site explains.
The Hyperloop is another idea from Musk that is set to revolutionize transportation. It promises to connect individuals around the globe, making long-distance travel both speedy and remarkably affordable.
Initially discussed in 2013, the transport system would use a propulsion based on electromagnetism that could propel pods forward in vacuum-sealed steel tunnel at unprecedented speeds.
Cities in Europe, America, and the Middle East have expressed interest in adopting their own Hyperloop tracks, and study groups are at work making the concept a reality.While he doesn’t have a company working directly on Hyperloop technology, Musk has been behind several initiatives to turn it into a reality. Now, with The Boring Company, Musk is building a platform to launch and test the various Hyperloop efforts he helped put into motion.
Transportation of the future is being developed today: autonomous electric vehicles, flying cars, and the futuristic pods that make up the Hyperloop are just a few notable examples. There’s another idea vying to be the next generation of public transportation, and while it might look something like the Hyperloop, this tube transport company’s CEO Daryl Oster explains why it’s different:
“ET3: we call it a mag-lev limo, where it’s a car-sized vehicle that operates in a network of tubes much [like] cars on a freeway,” Oster told TechRepublic at the 2017 Smart Cincy Summit. “But, it would be international and global in scope.”
“Our vision is being able to travel from, say, here in Cincinnati to the Taj Mahal in under three hours for 50 bucks,” Oster added. Essentially, it’s a network of tubes that serve as a “freeway” which can be accessed via various points along its many routes.
The Future of (Tube) Transportation
While the ET3 is still in the concept phase, the Hyperloop has already moved further along the innovation highway. Since the idea was first pitched by serial entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk in 2012, there are now two notable companies developing their own Hyperloop in the United States to Dubai.
All of these move us closer to what Transit X CEO Mike Stanley called “the impossible dream” of “making car-free cities within five years”, as he told TechRepublic. Maybe not exactly car-free: it’ll be more like a future with flying cars, autonomous cars, and “tube cars” — but that’s still pretty cool.
It now has a website with a futuristic concept video, and this week, what appears to be massive, branded proof of the Boring Company’s first drilling machine hit the internet. The image should go a long way toward alleviating lingering doubts that The Boring Company is anything more than a billionaire’s idea of a joke or a cover-up for Musk to work on a Hyperloop in secret.
When Musk spoke on the concept of tunneling at the Hyperloop Pod Competition’s first phase in 2016, he called it “a really simple and obvious idea.” He later explained to Bloomberg that he considers it a more practical solution to traffic congestion than airborne vehicles, which would require more infrastructure and regulatory approval — though those obstacles aren’t stoping companies like Uber and E-Volo from pursuing the tech.
Given Musk’s track record when it comes to introducing practical innovations built on remarkable tech, it certainly looks like it won’t be long before Musk’s Boring Company starts creating as much buzz as any of his other ventures. Clearly, the first step to that is adding a store to the website so they can start selling some of that cool merch Musk showed off last month.
Early details are trickling in about a partnership between Hyperloop One and Amazon to bring same-day delivery to a significant portion of the United States.
A tweet sent out early this morning by quarterly tech journal Port Technology shows Nick Earle, Senior Vice President of Global Field Operations at Hyperloop One, leading a talk at the journal’s Container Terminal Automation Conference being held in London.
The accompanying photograph shows the exec standing in front of a graphic presumably showing the regions the partnership will service. The graphic also lists some points related to cost savings.
Neither Amazon nor Hyperloop One have made any official announcements yet.
Hyperloop One is hoping to revolutionize land travel for both cargo and people. The company is busy building the infrastructure for its high-speed hyperloop system all around the world. Once completed, it will be able to move people and goods at extremely fast speeds of 1,000 kph (621 mph).
The speed of the pods themselves is not the only impressive feature of the system. According to Earle’s speech, “Not just speed — it’s demand that’s the important factor — freight pods could leave portals every 20 mins.”
A partnership between a major company like Amazon is a huge vote of confidence for Hyperloop One. Stay tuned.
Hyperloop One is seriously considering building its high-speed transit system in several states in the United States.
The Los Angeles-based startup held a two-day event in Washington DC this week to showcase its “Vision in America.” The event served two purposes: one, to evaluate eleven US route proposals for the high-speed transit system, and two, to meet with federal regulators in Washington about getting the system up and running.
“We’re trying to position Hyperloop as one of the best candidates that there are for re-inventing infrastructure in America,” Nick Earle, Hyperloop One’s senior vice president for global operations, told Business Insider. “It’s built in America, it can be implemented in America, it’s made in America…there are a lot of reasons why it fits with the national agenda right now.”
The event shows Hyperloop One is trying to get ahead of the regulatory curve before it even proves the technology.
The startup plans to launch a public trial, which Earle refers to as the company’s “Kitty Hawk moment,” on its two-mile development track in Nevada by the end of June. But a company has yet to prove the system Tesla CEO Elon Musk outlined in a White Paper in 2013.
Earlier this year, Hyperloop One launched a global challenge to crowdsource route proposals for a Hyperloop system in the US. After receiving over 2,600 submissions, the startup selected eleven finalists to present their vision in DC.
Hyperloop One says it will ultimately select two or three routes to study further. Scroll down for a look at all the routes under consideration:
1. Hyperloop Massachussetts
Led by Holly McNamara, selectman of the town of Somerset, the team proposes using a Hyperloop to connect Boston and Providence with stops at Somerset and Fall River. The Hyperloop would run for 64 miles.
The goal is to build an elevated system that shares highways and rail right-of-ways with connections to the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak’s most popular rail line that runs between Washington D.C. and Boston.
2. Team Rocky Mountain Hyperloop Consortium
The team is led by John Whitcomb, a member of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society. It proposed a long, 1,152-mile route between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Houston, Texas with stops in Denver, Dallas, and Forth Worth.
3. Team Hyperloop Missouri
The team is composed of Missouri’s Department of Transportation and is led by Thomas Blair, the department’s assistant district engineer, highlighting some state support for the project. The 240-mile route between Kansas and St. Louis would stop in Columbia.
4. Team Hyperloop Florida
The team is led by Alice Bravo, director of transportation development in Miami, highlighting similar state support to Team Missouri. The 257-mile system would transport passengers and cargo and run parallel to Highway 27 and I-4.
5. Team Hyperloop West
The team is comprised of architects, designers, and faculty members from Woodbury University and San Diego State University. The 121-mile system would transport cargo and passengers and make no stops in-between.
6. Team Hyperloop Nevada
The team is led by Steve Hill, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and includes support from the state’s Department of Transportation. The 454-mile sytem would carry freight and passengers and run along I-11.
7. Team Hyperloop Midwest
The 488-mile system would carry passengers and cargo between Pittsburgh and Chicago with a stop in Columbus. The team is led by Thea Walsh, director of transportation systems and funding for mid-Ohio regional planning.
8. Team PNW Hyperloop
The team is led by University of Washington students and proposes first carrying cargo along the 173-mile route before including passengers.
9. Team Rocky Mountain Hyperloop
Comprised of members of the Colorado Department of Transportation and engineering firm AECOM, the team boasts having partnerships with the Denver International Airport, the City of Denver, and the City of Greeley.
The first phase of the project would connect Denver International Airport to Greeley and would eventually expand into a 360-mile system.
10. Team Colorado Hyperloop
This is the third route proposal to pass through Denver, Colorado. This team is lead by Blake Anneberg, a self-proclaimed tech enthusiast. The first phase of the 242-mile project would run between Denver and Colorado Springs or Denver and Fort Collins before expanding to other cities.
11. Team Hyperloop Texas
The team was created by engineering firm AECOM and led by Steven Duong, an AECOM urban designer. The 640-mile system would connect all the major cities in Texas and carry passengers and cargo. The route would follow I-35 and I-10.
The Trump administration has called for border wall proposals, and a group of engineers called MADE Collective just responded in truly epic style. The group submitted a proposal for a “wall” that’s really a $15 billion hyperloop — that’s $6 billion less than the current estimate for a simple barrier from the Department of Homeland Security. MADE Collective estimates that such a loop would create $1 trillion in jobs.
MADE Collective, a group of Mexican and American urban planners and engineers, calls their project Otra Nation. This hyperloop transportation network would transform the border from unusable, dead space into a shared nation, with an independent local government and nonvoting representatives in the legislatures of both countries.
The Otra Nation hyperloop network would span 2,000 km (1,250 miles) and replace existing border fencing. Stations along the hyperloop would allow people to board, and the network would be powered by solar farms alongside it. Equal numbers of Mexican and American workers would be used to build the hyperloop system and staff it once it was operational. The group has posted a petition asking for support for their proposal.
“The existence of the border wall has become more a signifier of status than a barrier that each population sustains in its own form of isolation towards the opposite side,” the designers explained in their proposal. “The 19th century brought us boundaries, the 20th century we built walls, the next will bridge nations by creating communities based on shared principles of economic resiliency, energy independence, and a trust-based society.”
Other innovative, future-facing designs for the border wall include an “Inflatoborder” made of plastic bubbles, a binational park, and a wall covered in solar panels. In June, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will announce the 10 companies it wants to hire to create prototypes.
The hyperloop is a transportation pod of the future first proposed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. One of the companies hard at work in making this futuristic concept a reality is Los Angeles-based startup Hyperloop One. Now, Hyperloop One is a step closer to testing the technology, having finished its DeveLop test track in Las Vegas.
The almost 500-meter (1,640-foot) long track is a full-scale testing site that will facilitate Hyperloop One’s work on levitation, propulsion, vehicle control, and vacuum pressurization technologies as it prepares for its goal of a commercial launch. A completed test track marks a huge step for Hyperloop One, as it now has a working system that shows what the final version of these futuristic pods would look like.
Not Just For Human Transportation
Hyperloop One hasn’t just been hard at work in the United States, but also in Dubai, where it has plans for building a hyperloop network meant to transport not just people, but cargo. The Dubai plan features a hyperloop transportation system that integrates full passenger and cargo-capable pods that converge at specified terminals called “hyperloop portals.”
Hyperloop One has been getting considerable attention outside the U.S., but things may be changing now that the DeveLop test track is finished. Even President Donald Trump has expressed interest in the hyperloop.
On April 4, Hyperloop One held its Vision For America launch event in Washington, D.C., where they presented 11 proposed routes, cutting across 35 U.S. cities. “The eleven U.S. teams represent routes that would connect 35 metro areas and 83 million Americans: Las Vegas to Reno in 42 minutes. Chicago to Columbus in 29 minutes. Denver to Boulder in 5 minutes,” according to Hyperloop One’s blogpost.
Together with autonomous vehicles and flying cars, the hyperloop will join the league of futuristic transportation methods that once seemed limited to the pages of science fiction, but are now closer than ever within our reach.
Earlier this week, Elon Musk dined at the White House with the president to discuss his infrastructure plan for the country, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal. President Trump in turn expressed his interest in the Hyperloop.
While no concrete plans have been provided, the administration has stated their intentions to dedicate significant budget towards improving America’s roads and bridges. That certainly could include the latest technologies, like the Hyperloop. That being said, Trump’s curiosity for Musk’s ambitious transportation project doesn’t necessarily mean it come to fruition under his administration. According to The American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. would need $3.6 trillion to update the entire country’s infrastructure — and that’s not counting the Hyperloop.
Of course, apart from Musk sitting down with the President, there aren’t any concrete details that would suggest Trump could allot trillions from the federal budget for the project. Still, Trump’s interest could hint that the administration is looking towards privatizing American transportation infrastructure.
While it’s only a third of a mile (and has yet to be tested using actual pods or undergo public trials) the track is the first full-scale Hyperloop track. It also managed to complete a public trial of its propulsion system last year — however, it fell short of targets.
Ideally, the Hyperloop should be able to travel at 750 mph. The five-second, podless rail test only managed to hit 300 mph.
According to Musk, it would cost around $6 billion to create a Hyperloop line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If that sounds like a lot, when you look at the cost per mile ($11.5 million) it actually works out to be less than a high-speed rail, according to Forbes. Musk’s intention to build the system in tunnels is putting more focus on additional costs, however. Of course, this all rests on the premise that a perfectly working Hyperloop can be built — and it’s still up for debate whether that, and the projected cost, is actually feasible.
Hyperloop One is set on revolutionizing the way we transport everything from people to cargo. The company believes in a simpler, tube-based mode of transportation that ramps up to speeds rivaling that of an airplane with the fees of a bus ticket, and India might find itself one of the lucky few countries where the company builds a hyperloop transportation system.
According to Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd, the company has been in communication with the ambitious government on ways to optimize a public-private partnership, with the Los Angeles-based company expecting to raise more than $100 million to invest in the country. For reference, Hyperloop One has already raised $32 million for its current projects in the U.S., Slovenia, and the U.A.E. — a third of the amount needed for the deal with India.
However, the government of India is willing to spend $59 billion to transform and modernize its transportation systems, which may just benefit the Hyperloop One team after all. A project of this scale would fit right into India’s “make in India” country-building initiative. The increase in business and manufacturing would put the hyperloop’s 1,000 kph (621 mph) speeds to great use by significantly decreasing transportation times between India’s major cities. For example, a ride from Delhi to Mumbai, which currently takes about a day, would be cut to just 80 minutes on a hyperloop.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been moving quickly on the development of what he calls “The Boring Company.” In January of last year, he presented a proposal at the Hyperloop Pod Competition for a company that would lighten traffic through the use of underground tunnels. One year later, Musk mentioned that construction of a tunnel could begin in Los Angeles by the end of February.
Musk hasn’t fallen short of his promise – his new boring machine began to dig a tunnel as part of a demonstration at SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Competition last weekend. Although the machine has only created a mere hole, his team plans to eventually construct a full-fledged tunnel.
Musk hasn’t been too clear about how the tunnel will function, but the Hyperloop could be involved – after, it is supposed to be able to work above or below ground. Musk has, at the very least, not denied the connection:
For those that are curious enough to see what Musks’ boring machine looks like, he released a photo of it on Twitter recently. This might be only one part of a massive machine without the cutting head attached.
Although tunneling machines already exist, Musk’s company would be unique because the machines would make tunneling faster, speeding up the digging process almost tenfold compared to conventional methods. If Musk’s boring machine can make tunneling quicker and easier, underground transit could also become more popular. Tunnels would be a solution to heavy traffic, especially in urban areas, as well as a potential way to bring transportation into buildings.
Musk isn’t exactly serious about creating a separate entity called “The Boring Company.” Thankfully, the project fits into Tesla’s mission to alleviate traffic which, in turn, will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
His boring machine is also in line with SpaceX’s mission to eventually settle a colony on Mars. It could be used to test the viability of tunnel construction on the Red Planet, creating underground habitats that would protect people from extreme cold, low pressure, and high radiation.
Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is expected to be the next step forward in public transportation. The system propels passengers through a nearly airtight tube at speeds approaching that of air travel. Projects are currently in the works to bring the Hyperloop to Canada, Russia, Dubai, and now parts of Europe. The one in Dubai is expected to allow for travel between the city and the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, a distance of over 125 km (nearly 78 miles), in just 12 minutes.
The Hyperloop holds a lot of promise for the future of transportation, but it turns out that the idea may not be as new as we think. Back in 1965, a comic strip illustrated a future train that looks eerily similar to the concept drawings of Musk’s system, proving, once again, that there are no new ideas under the sun.
Image Source: Novak Archive
Our New Age, Indeed
Athelstan Spilhaus started a comic strip called Our New Age as a response to the Russian launch of the Sputnik satellite into space. Spilhaus hoped to get children interested in the sciences while they were reading their Sunday comics. He described his motive as follows: “Rather than fight my own kids reading the funnies, which is a stupid thing to do, I decided to put something good into the comics, something that was more fun and that might give a little subliminal education.” He probably never intended on divining the future.
The strip’s description of the trains of the future contained some uncanny similarities to today’s Hyperloop, including calling it an “exotic wheel-less train” capable of “traveling at hundreds of miles an hour.” The design of the train even looks a lot like those of the Hyperloop.
We are constantly learning of new technology that has a basis in some form of science fiction. Increasingly, the pipe dreams of yesterday are becoming today’s possibilities. The beauty of science fiction is that it can serve as a beacon that those in the present can throw to illuminate a path to the future.
Recently, HTT launched a new deal with Slovakia and the Czech Republic to build a Hyperloop system that will connect Bratislava and Brno. It’s a first step toward the plan to connect all of Europe with a Hyperloop. A 3,000 square meter facility (roughly 38,000 sq ft) at Francazal Airport in Toulouse will act as the company’s base. Toulouse is at the very heart of the European aerospace industry, and is centrally located for manufacturing the Hyperloop trains to be used in the Central European line.
HTT, one of two companies actively working on these futuristic pods, recently announced a $108 million funding round, with the company raising $31 million in cash.
Futuristic and Super Fast
The Hyperloop is a train-like transportation system that uses specially designed pods or capsules to transport people and cargo. It combines magnetic levitation (maglev) technology with reduced-pressure tubes for a smoother and faster ride. The idea for a Hyperloop was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013. Since then, a good number of people, institutions, and companies were quick to jump on the idea.
How fast could it go? Well, that really depends on which engineer you ask, but it’s believed that a Hyperloop could go as fast as 1,200km/h (800 mph). Designs show that it could also work either underground or aboveground. In fact, one of the Hyperloop plans in Dubai envisions a central hub that connects Hyperloops traveling on their cylinder tubes to the streets. On top of it being fast, a Hyperloop is also green, capable of running using solar energy.
From a sci-fi inspired concept in 2013, to a super-fast train that will someday connect all of Europe, it looks like the Hyperloop is becoming a reality.
As if building a transportation system that can get someone from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a little over half an hour isn’t challenging enough, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) now has their sights on connecting all of Europe via Hyperloop, beginning with the Czech Republic.
The company recently announced their partnership with Brno, Czech Republic to begin work on the first European Hyperloop. It will extend from the Czech Republic to Slovakia.
“This agreement marks the immediate exploration of the feasibility for a Hyperloop™ system for the city with a focus on connecting Brno and Bratislava, Slovakia, with which HTT already holds a development agreement, with a vision for also connecting Prague, the Czech capital,” HTT in a public statement.
Confident that the technology is sound, HTT’s next steps are focused on working with governments around the world to begin building the infrastructure necessary to implement Hyperloop globally.
“Hyperloop in Europe would cut distances substantially and network cities in unprecedented ways. A transportation system of this kind would redefine the concept of commuting and boost cross-border cooperation in Europe,” said Vazil Hudak, Minister of Economy of the Slovak Republic last year.
It is critical for Hyperloop to be working directly with regulators at this stage of development, new rules and frameworks will need to be written as we begin building out systems in Slovakia, the Emirates and several other to come,” adds said HTT CEO, Dirk Ahlborn.
Fast AND Green
HTT is a company led by NASA and Boeing veterans who want to offer an efficient, green, and remarkably fast way to travel via the Hyperloop.
At its core, Hyperloop is a tube-based transportation system for inter and intra-city transport. With a drastic reduction of air in the tube, motion is achieved with nearly zero friction allowing passengers to safely accelerate to airplane speeds. This is all powered by a combination of alternative energy and energy conservation systems. We are building Hyperloop to produce as much or more energy than it uses.
Hyperloop One, a group backed by DP World Group of Dubai who just received $50 million in funding, and the California-based company Hyperloop Technologies Inc. (HTI), who intend to build a test track in North Las Vegas, are also working to create solar-powered, green hyperloop systems.
Whether or not Hyperloop be adopted as a viable and preferred mode of transportation isn’t certain. But, as the global population swells and climate change continues to be a growing threat, the need for a sustainable but efficient mass transit system is evident. Creating sustainable energy solutions is the only way to protect the planet and its inhabitants, and making Hyperloop a global system could be part of the solution.