When someone hear those two words ‘transportation’ and ‘technology’ in the same sentence, what sounds next is some sort of hyphen reply full of keywords like ‘non-polluting cars’ or ‘bikes’, and maybe the most creative ones dare to suggest or talk about some sort of flying device or time machine —So close, inventives.
Welcome to the transportation of tomorrow: let me introduce a new subject of topic for your next techie-talk: Hyperloop.
Revolutionizing Land Transport
Without still making much noise, Hyperloop is simmering, and in recent days has held a new stage of the contest to create the transport of the future.
What is Hyperloop? The idea behind it, is to create a passenger and cargo transport capable of traveling at more than, read well, 750 miles per hour. For that, the key would be in the capsules or “pods” that would move through a frictionless vacuum tube and magnetic levitation (Maglev).
When SpaceX and Tesla co-founder introduced his ultrafast transport system project almost three years ago, the Elon Musk Hyperloop baptized vehicle type, many were skeptical of what looked like a futuristic utopia.
The Contest: Hyperloop Pod Competition
Obviously it is not an easy project, and more heads have devised different ways to face the challenge; the faster they advance in their development the better for everyone. That’s the reason why a competition in which hundreds of teams and universities have participated in order to find the most suitable capsule design.
Last year, there were several rounds to filter equipment based on the designs and their feasibility, and we have also seen the first prototypes of Hyperloop on the move —So now, the levitation system might not be such a pipe dream after all!
Delft University (Netherlands) coming out on top and beating both MIT –which stood out for the safety of its capsule– and University of Munich team, won after successfully tested half scale pods at a 1km test track at SpaceX‘s HQ. Single criterion: maximum speed —Yes, although we are only humans, we just want to travel as fast as the light or the Internet.
Next Stop? To Infinity and Beyond
SpaceX is focused on its aerospace business and we can say that it is actually going very well. They have managed to show it as normal for a rocket to travel to space, put in orbit satellites that load, and return ‘quietly’ landing on a remote platform in the middle of the ocean.
However, further on, they have their future projects to travel and create a human colony on Mars or the Moon, they also are hungry to revolutionize ground transportation with the futuristic tube-based transportation network while putting together, for example, three European capitals in just 10 minutes.
The competitions are on
This has been another step to continue developing Hyperloop. The next appointment is in the summer of 2017 with Competition Weekend II, and watch out! These tests will be very interesting and exciting since they will have one last objective: to reach the maximum possible speed inside the tube.
The prize for the final winner will be, besides reward in money, to join the final development team of Hyperloop.
Would you try this way of traveling? How would our bodies or some particular inflammable objects support those high speeds? Lots of ‘what ifs’ to solve and discover by following the race to the first usable Hyperloop, which could be finished by this year.