When Elon Musk introduced the world to the idea of traveling from LA to San Francisco in half the time it takes on a plane, it was only a matter of time before transportation prototypes that support this idea were put on the table.
To elaborate, a Hyperloop is essentially a long tube that has had all the air inside it removed to create a vacuum. By doing this, the tube then allows for the passage of capsules at extremely high speeds. The transport system boasts of maintaining passenger comfort even if its capsules are accelerating up to 760 mph.
The tube is designed in such a way that it is suspended off the ground to protect against earthquakes and extreme weather conditions. Also, the passengers would be seated in either individual or group pods.
Elon Musk Explains the Hyperloop
Elon Musk made the Hyperloop concept an open-sourced project when he announced the idea in 2013. By doing this, he then initiated an avalanche of concepts revolving around his idea during a competitive weekend held last January 29 and 30 at the Texas A&M University campus.
Scientists, inventors, and even students were all given the opportunity to help turn his idea into reality. Just January of this year, a design competition was held in which students competed to put together designs for the Hyperloop tube pods. The winning design was submitted by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other teams that joined included those from Delft University in the Netherlands, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Virginia Tech, and the University of California at Irvine.
Check Out the Winning Hyperloop Design from MIT
The technical applications aspect of the competition was joined by 188 domestic and international teams. Judging was based on the Hyperloop’s “vactrain” design, and a group of SpaceX and Tesla engineers along with 60 academic professors from different parts of the globe sorted through the entries.
Moreover, global construction form Aecom has already promised to construct a piece of test track later this year.
With this race to be the first company to turn Elon Musk’s idea into reality, Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies already made a bold statement on the “loop.”
This Man Crowdsourced Ideas for Elon Musk’s Hyperloop at SXSW
During a keynote at the South by Southwest Interactive conference (SXSW) in Austin, Ahlborn made a promise saying that the Los Angeles to San Francisco commute via Hyperloop will only take 36 minutes. What’s more is he boasts of a fair $30 ticket price.
He further enticed the crowd by selling the idea of the “loop” as being efficient for intercity travel as much as it is for long-distance travel. This is made possible as the system can literally bolt at hyper speeds onto existing freeway right of ways without the need for massive subway tunneling.
Ahlborn summed up his speech by announcing that the city of Bratislava, Slovakia, will be the first to experience the Hyperloop. It is estimated that the project in this Eastern European city is set to be completed in year 2020 at an estimated $200-300 million.
— josiah hobson (@josiah17) March 14, 2016
Furthermore, Bibop Gresta, COO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies claimed on CNBC that construction is already underway for their first full-scale prototype. The track is being laid down in their facility in Quay Valley, California. The announcement was made after similarly named company Hyperloop Technologies made a statement saying they are already building a test facility near Las Vegas, Nevada.
The race is definitely on for both companies, who are obviously the frontrunners in building the first Hyperloop transportation system.
Although both HTT and Hyperloop Technologies have made announcements of their “plans,” it is still a big question as to whether any real progress has been made on this Elon Musk vision.
[Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]