With the Concorde’s final flight in 2003, the world’s transportation technology suffered a major setback. Since then, no one able to build a commercial transportation method that could travel at supersonic speed. But nowadays people need to do their everyday works easily and quickly. So we need an alternative way to travel fast and securely. Hyperloop is a modern solution for this problem and it could be the next generation’s fastest way to travel.
Hyperloop is a revolutionizing idea that can change the way we travel today. Simply it is a train system that runs through the tubes. But what makes it special is that it can go two times much faster than the highest speed train and even faster than commercial airliners currently exist in the world.
First time this concept was introduced to the world by the 21-century concept designer and the multi-billionaire businessman Elon Musk. He designs this concept as a ground transportation system to move people around two locations with a super-fast speed of more than 1000km/h. Elon called this fifth mode of transportation.
Invite To The Word
In 2012 first time Musk publicly mentioned this project. After one year in 2013, August Elon Musk released a 58 pages paper report called the Hyperloop Alpha. Musk explained in this report simply how the hyperloop system works, estimate budget plan, and data analytics reports to build a hyperloop system in Los Angelis to San Fransisco. But Elon didn’t try to make it himself. Instead of that, his company SpaceX hosted an open-source competition to gather ideas and build hyperloop capsule modules. As a result of that, big companies, governments, and billionaires attention got this project.
Simply What Is Hyperloop?
Hyperloop is a slightly different transport method than we see in today’s world. It uses partially vacuum evacuated tubes and pressurized pods for carrying passengers or cargo. For travelling ultra high speed, it minimizes two key factors of physics. They are friction and air-resistant. Hyperloop systems will operate by advanced autonomous software, and the system will monitor by control stations in the portals. The currently developed hyperloop can reach speed up to 765mph(1223km/h).
These days two major companies are developing their systems to build the world’s first commercial hyperloop. They are hyperloop TT and Virgin hyperloop. In November 2020, Virgin hyperloop launched the first passenger ride on its test track in the Nevada desert.
Where Would Be The First Hyperloop Will Be Build?
Although this concept begins in America, according to the current project reports, we can expect the world’s first commercial hyperloop system will be built outside the U.S.A.
Virgin plans to develop its first commercial project in Pune to Mumbai in India. This project can cut the three and half hour car journey down to just 30 mins. This hyperloop project construction was scheduled to be completed in 2025, but after the Maharste state government halted the project, its new opening date will be 2029.
Hyperloop TT plans to open its first commercial prototype in 2023 by connecting Abu Dhabi Al-Ain city and Dubai Al Maktoum airport. UAE hyperloop project comes with 40$ million costs per kilometre, and the total cost will be 6$ billion.
Both companies are working on Hyperloop project plans with several countries, including the United States, China, Indonesia, and France. But Hyperloop is still running only in the test tracks. So we couldn’t say which country would be the first operator.
Difference Between Elon’s Hyperloop And Today Developed Hyperloop Systems.
Musk’s propose hyperloop is slightly different from the today developed hyperloop technology. Musk suggested using an air compression fan to move air around the pod to minimize drag and create air bearings beneath the pod to float them off the tube’s surface. This technology is quite similar to how the pucks levitate on the air hockey table. But after practical testings, experts found very large energy consumption happens in this way.
So developers switched to Magnetic levitation technology, and it helps keep the passenger pod floating above the tracks without any friction. This technology is already using maglev trains globally, but hyperloop developers developed eight times more efficient new magnetic levitation systems compared to the world’s fastest maglev train system in operation.
But travel more than 1000km/h speed with less energy consumption hyperloop also needs to reduce air resistance. To do that job, developers installed vacuum pumps every 10 km in the tube tunnel.
These pumps suck out 99.9% of the air in the tubes and create a low-pressure environment like200 000 ft above sea level. When the near-vacuum lowers aerodynamic drag significantly, allowing for higher speeds to be achieved while using minimum energy. The hyperloop uses a linear electric motor that gives propulsion down the track’s length to get the acceleration. These motors help the hyperloop to reach cruise velocities near 1000km/h under 5 minutes.
How Its Feel Like
The developer experts say Hyperloop starts off will feel similar to an aircraft at takeoff, about 0.2gs. Once the pod is up to speed, passengers will get the vomit-free smoothest ride without any turbulence. But some expert worries a long ride in the small windowless capsule experience could also make passenger sick.
Hyperloop commercial capsule pods plan to design for carrying 20-25 passengers. With this number of passengers, the hyperloop can be operated directly to the destination without stopping. So the passenger doesn’t need to wait for all others to show up, and the passenger can leave when he wants to leave, and he can arrive when he wishes to arrive.
Travelling more than 1000km/h isn’t a new thing to transportation. In early 2000, passengers had a chance to travel at 2179 km/h with the Concorde, which could be the future of transportation. But unfortunately, after the tragedic crash that happen in France, Concorde lost its reputation. Investigators found tiny metal pieces left on the runway caused to kill 109 people onboard. So after spending millions of dollars, Hyperloop Companies doesn’t need to happen the same fatal to Hyperloop. That’s why Hyperloop companies adopted an autonomous AI system to control the operations safely.
As a ground transportation method, the hyperloop’s biggest risk would be earthquakes. Hyperloop tube tracks plan to build on pylons tolerance to earthquakes and weather changes. These pylons can move and flex independently, minimizing damage in the event of a major ground shift. All the ground data are also collected by the sensors along the route and sent them instantly to the system control centre.
What Happen If there’s a breach in the tube?
The tubes used to build hyperloop tracks are extremely difficult to puncture or break. But engineers already developed their systems to face these situations. Virgin hyperloop co-founder Josh Geigel says if there’s a minor breach, the pods can experience a little bit of drag, and they would end up slowing down using more energy. If there’s a larger breach, the pods just come to a stop safely and allow the passengers to evacuate if they need to. There is also the ability to section close part of the route and to repressurize sections.
Hyperloop pods plan to operate with a fully autonomous system. Sensors gather and transmit real-time positioning and locating data with up-to-the microsecond adjustments.
The idea comes to the world as an environmental-friendly project. It would be more efficient than any other mode of transportation. Musk’s white paper report suggests by placing solar panels on the tubes, Hyperloop could generate far more excess energy needed to operate the system. The execs energy can store in battery packs and use in the nigh times and cloudy weather.
Virgin Hyperloop and Hyperloop TT plan to use this same idea in their the Middle East and Indian projects.
MajorTraveling Advantages In Hyperloop
- Minor weather delays
- Less energy consumption
- Nonstop Travelling
- Affordable Price
The estimated ticket price of a 240mile journey will cost around $60 -100$. But according to Hyperloop companies, Hyperloop track building cost and service maintenance cost are far cheaper than the regular operational train system. Virgin company says after building a few operational tracks around the world, this would be the cheapest mode to travel.
Some experts say the freight world would be the first customer of the hyperloop. Before carrying human passengers, hyperloop companies must need to prove their technology is safe. Cargo handling is the best chance to practically test their technology. Some governments and cargo companies already plan to integrate airports and seaports with the hyperloop.
We could expect to see operational Hyperloop systems connecting major hubs in the next two decades. It also will help to create a great economy around the world. This would be a new era in transportation history.