September 17, 2016
10 Little-Known Facts About Hyperloop
Three years later, it’s clear that his unique concept has captured huge attention from around the world.
So, what is Hyperloop?
It’s a proposed system that uses capsules and tubes to transport people and goods at speeds of up to 760 mph. As a comparison, a typical high-speed train has a top speed of just 150 mph.
Think of it this way… a Hyperloop service running between Los Angeles and San Francisco is projected to get you to your destination in as little as 35 minutes.
Perhaps now you can see why the word ‘Hyper’ is used!
Anyway, I’m sure you’re already aware of Hyperloop. But I’m hoping that some (or all) of my 10 little-known facts will be new for you.
- Hyperloop is an open-sourced technology. That’s right, Elon Musk and SpaceX have essentially given their idea away, and encouraged others to develop it.
- The capsules ride on a bed of air. The pressurised capsules are fired through the tunnels by a combination of linear induction motors and air compressors. In other words – they ride on air!
- There are several versions of Hyperloop. So far, three companies have taken up the challenge of developing a working Hyperloop system. I’ll list them for you: Hyperloop One, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and TransPod.
- More than 700 teams entered the Hyperloop Pod Competition. SpaceX is the sponsor of the competition, and they have agreed to build a 1-mile long subscale test track in California. Of the 700 teams that entered, 22 have now been selected to design and build hardware.
- Power outages won’t stop Hyperloop. Worried you may be stuck in a Hyperloop capsule during a power cut? I wouldn’t be too concerned. It’s expected that each capsule will be fitted with two or more lithium-ion battery packs. These would provide enough power to ensure the affected capsule reached its destination.
- Hyperloop is designed to be powered by the sun. Elon Musk has proposed that all of the electricity requirements for Hyperloop should be provided by solar panels that are positioned along the length of the transport tubes.
- Several countries are fighting to be the first to implement Hyperloop. These include: Australia, India, Russia, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates. Who will be the first? It’s hard to say, but Russia and the UAE both appear to have a good chance.
- Hyperloop will be operational, somewhere in the world, by 2020. This is a direct quote from Shervin Pishevar, the co-founder and chairman of Hyperloop One. Fortunately, we don’t have long to wait to see if he’s correct!
- Hyperloop doesn’t care about the weather. According to Elon Musk‘s original design plans, Hyperloop (due to its controlled tube environment) is immune to wind, ice, fog and rain.
- The concept of transporting passengers in air-tight tubes is not new. You may be surprised (as I was) to hear that British inventor, George Medhurst, patented an air-propulsion tube transportation system in… 1799!
Elon Musk describes Hyperloop as: “A cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table.“
It will be interesting to hear how the first passengers describe it.
One thing stands out though – Hyperloop is all about speed. And I’m sure that its development and implementation will come around much quicker than anticipated.
I can’t wait!
Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.
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