Ah, the Hyperloop. Ever since Elon Musk presented the idea to the world, many people have toyed with the concept, for good or for worse. Some praised, some dissed, and the few financially capable were crazy enough to actually try building one for real.
So far, the results are rather underwhelming. However, this one breakthrough test last week can finally show us a a more concrete look into what a hyperloop system could eventually be.
The Whirr of Our Tomorrow
Hyperloop One, one of the leading companies currently developing Elon Musk’s future train concept, have successfully conducted last July 29th the closest setup to the finalized idea of the technology yet. Within a 500-meter long tube of almost vacuum levels of air pressure, its XP-1 prototype unit managed to magnetically propel itself at a top speed of about 310 kilometers per hour.
This is a milestone achievement in terms of technical development. As the last test only managed a top speed of 110 kilometers per hour and wasn’t even conducted on depressurized tubes, this new test showed a significantly greater improvement of the core concept’s application. At the very least, the most important feature of Hyperloop, which is improved speed via loss of air fiction (tubes in a vacuum) was finally designed and implemented.
Granted, this is still a far cry from the theoretical 1,200 kilometers per hour top speed of the original concept, but this definitely took the idea a few short steps away from being dismissed as “fantasy tech”. People have been skeptical and critical of the Hyperloop idea since day one, from its human resource logistics, applications, its technologies, safety levels, down to its economic feasibility.
Seeing the actual thing run, and run successfully (albeit at a vastly incomplete state), helps show that it has promise. A successful basic dry run like this reinforces that idea that its development level might just be its hindrance factor, that it could be made as practical as planes and rockets now do today.
Next Station: (Convincing) The World
Convincing skeptics is just one part in making the hyperloop concept gain development ground. A proper application medium would definitely be needed before we could finally see its practical feasibility. To this end, Hyperloop One has already made several talks amongst selected countries to develop test hyperloop systems. Dubai, in particular, is very interested in developing its rather unique self-driven (pun intended) modular hyperloop system, complete with a personal user app for its passengers.
That being said, Hyperloop One isn’t exactly the only business entity pulling the idea’s entire weight. We have other startups like Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, as well as Elon Musk’s very own spin on the concept with his upcoming automobile transport business.
As for Hyperloop One’s system development phase, the company would most likely take the next step to improve the next milestone. Perhaps achieving a faster speed, or building a longer track, to better simulate how a real hyperloop would operate regularly.
Source: Hyperloop One