Another test has been posed, and it has been passed, or so claims Hyperloop One, the company behind a new transport system that could just about change the world.
“We are not selling transportation, we are selling time,” says Hyperloop One. It takes 10 hours 45 minutes to drive from Melbourne to Sydney, three hours 15 minutes by plane, but it will take just 55 minutes by Hyperloop, says the company.
In a vacuum, things can go faster. Hyperloop One, is about traveling at high speeds in a near vacuum.
It involves a pod, traveling in a tube. The pod is levitated and propelled magnetically. Nearly all the air in the tube is removed, using vacuum pumps. The company says that this effectively creates sky inside the tube, “as if you are flying at 200,000 feet above sea level, reducing drag so only the smallest amount of electricity is needed to achieve extraordinary speeds.”
It claims that the system will be more cost effective than high-speed trains allowing a safe and fast journey.
It says Hyperloop will change the way we travel and live.
And now the company has done a test. On July 29th, the latest prototype hit 310 kilometres an hour. The pod levitated, and accelerated for 300 metres, before braking and coming to a gradual stop in the 500-metre long test tube in the Nevada desert.
"When you hear the sound of the Hyperloop One, you hear the sound of the future,” said Shervin Pishevar, Executive Chairman and Co-founder of Hyperloop One.
“We’ve proven that our technology works, and we’re now ready to enter into discussions with partners, customers and governments around the world about the full commercialisation of our Hyperloop technology,” said Hyperloop One, CEO Rob Lloyd.
It is very difficult not to become a tad gushing over this one. Hyperloop, based on an idea first proposed by Elon Musk, is truly exciting technology – not only will it be faster than high speed trains, it is claimed that it will be more cost effective too.
This all begs the question, why is the UK government pressing ahead with HS2?
After all, since Hyperloop travels in tubes that are above the ground, or can go underground, and moves almost silently, there should be less planning issues in getting it accepted.
The real problem, of course, is that despite the protestations of Hyperloop One, this is not yet proven technology and we don’t really know how safe it will be, or how much it will cost.
There are good reasons to be cynical about Hyperloop, it may turn out to be little more than hype – a vacuous business model, rather than a business that uses a vacuum.
But, bit by bit, Hyperloop One appears to be overcoming the obstacles and it is odd that the UK government makes no reference to the technology.
Frankly,the speed with which Hyperloop One has applied the ideas, published by Musk in a white paper in August 2013, is extraordinary, almost as extraordinary as the claimed 700 miles per hour speed that it is supposed to be able to reach.
And the pace by which Hyperloop One develops the technology provides a stark contrast with the snail’s pace by which HS2 is developing.
There are a lot of vested interests in Hyperloop not succeeding, such interests may be getting too much air time.