Almost exactly four years ago, we ran a story about Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept, a pod based, rapid transit system to traverse long distances. Original literature discussed being able to traverse Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes. The article below updates our readers on the significant advances since then.
Imagine a pod that will someday carry human passengers and probably freight too, something that resembles a bus with 16 retractable wheels….perhaps 28 feet long, pointed at the business end, composed of aluminum and fiber composites. Load this structure into a an 11 foot concrete test tube evacuated of air, and shoot it down the track using an electromagnetic propulsion system –think magnetic levitation (Mag-Lev)- and record the results. How about 192 mph in about 5 seconds!
Check-out a recent test of the pod and test track:
All this work adds up to what engineers call a “proof of concept”; and now the details get filled in to make it practical…and that means lots of hard core engineering tempered with tough-minded business analysis. There will be lots of coordination with safety and environmental agencies, and discussions and analyses to determine where to locate such facilities, the location of station stops, the ergonomics of passenger travel and lots more.
Maybe we shall see these lines located along established high voltage power line rights of way. It makes sense. Those lines move “electrons” (electricity) between populations centers, so why not move people and freight the same way? Perhaps such lines can parallel roads or railroad rights of way too. No doubt there will be very many interesting questions and points of view to be addressed and various constraints to be dealt with.
Thomas Edison would applaud the work done so far and anxiously await more progress!