Is Hyperloop REAL? Do We Need It? [Hyperloop Progress 2019]
The basic concept of Hyperloop could be older than you've thought! And here we answer all the essential questions: Is Hyperloop Real? Is Hyperloop possible from the beginning? Are there actually any Hyperloop systems being built right now?
The idea of utilizing pneumatic tubes for public transportation goes back to the late 18th century, and the first atmospheric railways were already built in the early 19th century.
The transatlantic pneumatic tube connecting Boston and Liverpool from the short story "An Express of the Future", written by Michel Verne (son of Jules Verne) and first published in 1895, reads remarkably similar to the depiction of a Hyperloop.
In 1904, the rocket pioneer Robert Goddard came up with a first vacuum tube transportation concept, where magnetically levitated pods would have been propelled at very high speeds through evacuated tubes.
The modern Hyperloop concepts are based on Elon Musk's White Paper "Hyperloop Alpha" from 2013. He proposed to replace vacuum tubes by tubes filled with low pressure air, as well as to mount an electric compressor fan at the front of the Hyperloop pod, in order to overcome the Kantrowitz limit for top speed.
Is Hyperloop cheaper than bullet train? According to the calculation in "Hyperloop Alpha", a Hyperloop track connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles would only cost 9% of a high-speed bullet train line.
The first SpaceX Hyperloop test track was built in 2016 in Hawthorne. Since then, Elon Musk Hyperloop competition has been taking place every year. The Technical University of Munich (TUM) was the Hyperloop competition winner for 2019, and SpaceX is already planning to build a longer test track with a curve for the next SpaceX Hyperloop competition.
Is Hyperloop a reality? Due to the potential of economic benefits shown in Elon Musk's Hyperloop white paper, private Hyperloop companies are emerging and competing with each other to build the first commercial Hyperloop network.
Virgin Hyperloop One is building a Hyperloop line connecting the two major cities of Mumbai and Pune in India. The Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop train speed could reduce the travelling time between these two cities from hours to 25 minutes.
Virgin Hyperloop One recently also signed a deal with the government of Saudi Arabia, to build a 35 km-long Hyperloop test track north of Jeddah. The ultimate goal is to build a Hyperloop line from Jeddah to Riyadh, so to reduce the travel time from currently almost 10 hours to just 76 minutes.
Their Hyperloop passenger capsule is expected to be unveiled at the Virgin Hyperloop experience at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) is pushing their Chicago-Cleveland Hyperloop route, which is supposed to be developed to the larger Great Lakes Hyperloop System later on.
HyperloopTT is also working on a first Phase of the future UAE Hyperloop connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which should reduce the travel time between these two major cities down to 12 minutes.
We believe Hyperloop is actually safer than normal or high-speed railway trains for different reasons, and a Hyperloop future might be nearer than most people have thought!
We're really looking forward to the first public Hyperloop station and Hyperloop train lines ;) And don't forget to tell us in the comments, if you're also interested in a Hyperloop ride!
------- Interesting resources to look up: -------
Elon Musk's Hyperloop Whitepaper from 2013 that started it all:
A nice summary of pneumatic tube transport history:
Another good summary of pneumatic tube transportation ideas, leading to modern Hyperloops:
Michel Verne's short story reading like a Hyperloop prediction:
On the Great Lakes Hyperloop system (by Hyperloop TT):
On the Mumbai - Pune Hyperloop (by Virgin Hyperloop One):
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