What is hyperloop and how it will change our future?
It is beyond doubt that the experience of traveling at a supersonic speed would be extremely an exciting one. Indeed, it will be another revolution in the field of transportation if a vehicle, which would travel at a speed of 970km/h, is designed and commercially adopted for the use of mankind. It would be a marvel too if the concept of Hyperloop turns into reality.
What is Hyperloop?
A high-speed transportation system was conceptualized originally and put forward by Elon Musk, an entrepreneur. In this system, he incorporated reduced pressure tubes in which pressurized capsule or pod ride on an air cushion. They are driven by linear induction motors and compressors.
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The idea of traveling through evacuated tubes dates back a century ago. But few elements have been added in Elon Musk idea and it may make the idea economically viable. His concept for the fifth mode of Transport was called Hyperloop by him. When it works it will be able to transport people and cargo between cities at speed faster than a commercial airliner with record energy efficiencies. It would be cheaper than a train and continuously available in any weather while emitting no carbon from the tailpipe.
In May 2013, Musk compared the hyperloop to a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table” when he noted that it has no need for rails. He believes it could work entire below or above ground.
The outline of the original Hyperloop concept was made public. It released a design document in August 2013. It included a notional route running from the Los Angles region and to San Fransisco Bay Area. The journey time would be 35 minutes at an average speed around 970 km/h. The estimated cost of the LA- SF notional route for a passenger only version was the US $6 billion.
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Hyperloop Technology and Development
Musk and SpaceX have open- sourced the Hyperloop Technology. So ideas were invited from other to develop the technology. Design for pods or capsules and test tracks are currently developed and the test track in underway and the test runs are expected later in 2016.
Demonstration Of The Concept
Musk invites feedback to “see if the people can find ways to improve it. He announced that he would construct in January 2015 a Hyperloop test track, which may be located in Texas. The track would be 8 km long in the form of a loop. The university and private teams would be allowed to test and refine different transport pod designs.
In June 2015 Space x announced that it would build a 1-mile long test track. It would be located next to space x’s Haw throne facility. The track would be used to test pod designs. A 5-mile long Hyperloop test track is to be constructed on HTT owned Hyperloop Transportation Technologies site in Quay Valley in 2016.
By November 2015, several companies and dozens of student’s teams have pursued the development of Hyperloop Technology. The wall street Journal asserted, “ Hyperloop movement is officially bigger than the man who started it.”
Although Elon Musk postulated the idea, space x is not developing a commercial Hyperloop of its own. Instead, It is holding a competition to encourage the students and engineers to develop prototype pods. There is no assurance that anything will come out of the competition. The competition enables them to exchange and share their knowledge so that it may make the Hyperloop system a reality at some point in time.
On January 30, 2016, the space x Hyperloop design competition concluded. More than 100 prototype pod designs were submitted and 28 teams have won the Hyperloop test track in June 2016. A team of students from the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology(MIT) won Best overall design. According to MIT team, the pod is lightweight and emphasizes speed and safety, including a fail-safe brake system. Hyperloop design uses air jets to levitate but MIT design uses two arrays of neodymium magnets to keep the pod aloft. Additional magnets inside the pod will keep it stable as it runs along the track.Though it is very impressive it is far from a commercial product. It lacks space for passengers or cargo. Anyway, the next stage of the project could be a great step ahead.
Hyperloop – Human Experience
Human experience in Hyperloop would possibly be unpleasant and frightening. The travel may be jostling and ongoing seismic activity would inevitably cause distortion. There is no provision for passengers to stand, move within the capsule, use a restroom during the trip or get relief or assistance in case of illness or sickness. How to deal with an equipment malfunction, accidents, and emergency evacuations is not known.
Economic Consideration (Impediments)
US $20 of each one-way passenger ticket would be sufficient to cover the capital costs. The projected ticket price has been questioned by director of the Institute Of Transportation studies at UC Davis who told” there’s no way the economics on that would ever work out”
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Political impediments are the construction of such a product in California will be very large because a great deal of political capital has been invested in the existing mega project of California High-Speed Rail.
Conventional means of transportation( road, water, air, and rail) tend to be slow, expensive and environmentally harmful. Road travel is particularly problematic given carbon emission and the fluctuating price of oil. As the environmental dangers of energy consumption continue to worsen, mass transit will be crucial in future. Whether commercial Hyperloop systems will ever be widely adopted remains unclear. As the global population is on the incline, and the environment declines, a faster, cheaper, safer transportation system becomes essential. The concept of hyperloop not only a dream but a distant reality.