Elon Musk is a visionary in the tech world. He is the motive behind Tesla Motors and also the venture Space X that plans to take a normal human to space. With his latest venture, the Hyperloop he now plans to take travel systems across the world to another level altogether. It is an ambitious project that aims to replace rail and air travel over the next decade.
It is a highly futuristic idea and boasts of attaining speeds up to 760 miles per hour. To put that in perspective, that’s twice the speed of Japan’s bullet train, which is the fastest train in the world. But it’s not just the blistering speeds that make the Hyperloop so interesting. It’s an entirely new way to travel, without reliance on motors, wheels or rails – a genuinely radical innovation with the potential to change the way we travel forever.
After much of the groundwork for Hyperloop was laid, executives from Hyperloop One joined European dignitaries and policymakers at its Vision for Europe summit to discuss transforming transportation across the continent with the tech marvel.
What Is The Hyperloop?
In the broadest sense, the Hyperloop isn’t too different to a conventional train or monorail: passengers board carriages – although here, perhaps ‘capsules’ is a better term – which then shoots off along a track to their destination. But, that’s pretty much where its similarities with trains end. For starters, the Hyperloop doesn’t feature any rail tracks. The capsules just flash through hollow stainless steel tubes, propelled forward by compressed gas at a high pressure.
As mentioned, Musk and the SpaceX team behind Hyperloop reckon it could reach a top speed of 760 miles per hour. Traveling at that kind of speed, you’d be able to cover the 213 miles between London and Paris in a little over 15 minutes. Here is a video where the engineers behind Hyperloop explain everything about the next generation travel system.
(Video: MIT Hyperloop)
When Would It Be Ready?
Bringing such a massive idea to reality needs two major things; money and technology. People have valued the cost of laying down the equipment for a 500-mile track to be around $6 billion. Now, even for Musk, this is something which he can’t shell out from his pocket. So one thing stands clear, we are not going to see an operational Hyperloop transport system for at least the next decade or so. However, Musk has organized a competition urging Universities across Europe to come up with their own version of Travel tunnel and pods and the good thing about that is that the winners have already been found. Delf University of Technology (TU Delft) in Netherlands has come with a pod and along with Hardt, has set up Europe’s first test facility in the Dutch University. Have a look at it:
(Video: Hardt Global Mobility)
Will It Work?
If there is one thing that everyone will agree to, it is that public transport, in particular, needs a major overhaul. The entire creaking industry is in need of new ideas, new approaches, and new technology.
Add to that the looming threat of climate change, there seems to be a clear need for modes of transport that can reduce our reliance on cars and perhaps even on planes. We might not see a functional Hyperloop establishment for a long time, but one thing which is sure is that the world definitely needs something of this sort. It might not be the ultimate solution to our problems anyway, but it surely opens up new horizons for tech masterminds like Musk himself to try and find better options for the future of this world. And, amidst the chaos that we live in today, the Hyperloop would be a welcome addition to ease out at least some of the problems.
(Featured Image Courtesy: The Sun)