Hyperloop One, the company that is working on commercializing hyperloop travel, has successfully tested its prototype pod.
The pod accelerated down a 500-metre test tube in Nevada desert in the US and reached a top speech of 192 mph.
In August 2013, Elon Musk, a Canadian-America investor and engineer, first published his plans for hyperloop travel. In a blog post, he hypothesized a transport system that can move passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. He said that this could be achieved through aluminum pods that can travel up to 800 mph.
Even though it was Musk who initially popularized this idea, another company, called Hyperloop One has taken it forward. Based out of Californian, Hyperloop One has been working on transporting passengers at airline speeds without the costs incurred through air travel. Musk has not been involved in the work conducted by the company.
A linear electric motor is used in hyperloop that enables an electromagnetically levitated pod to accelerate and decelerate. The pod moves at high speeds inside a low-pressure tube. Hyperloop comes with several advantages as it does not have to deal with turbulence while traveling at speeds up to 670 mph. It is also built in tunneled underground or on columns.
The latest test is a significant step in proving that this form of travel could be a valid option in the future. The Hyperloop Pod accelerated to 308 km/h and was also able to successfully bring itself to a halt without causing any problems. By achieving these speeds, the company has also set a hyperloop speed record.
Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One said, “The look on the engineers’ face when it happened was great, this is what we’ve been working for. We’ve proven that this concept works. We’ve got 180 engineers working hand-in-glove with welders and fabricators to do something no-one has ever done before. Our engineers are on hand while what they’ve designed is being built.”
In order to conduct the test, the tube was depressurized down to what the air would be at 200,000 feet above sea level. The pod was then able to glide through magnetic levitation.
The team behind Hyperloop One have been travelling across the world convincing governments to consider investing in Hyperloop.
Our assessment is that with this test, the company has proven to the world that hyperloop is no longer a proposal for the distant future but a viable solution for the present. However, this mode of transportation still has many obstacles to overcome before it is taken seriously by governments.