Hyperloop One plans to take supersonic tube transport underwater

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Artist's concept of Hyperloop going underwater(Credit: Hyperloop One)

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Back in May Hyperloop One revealed a number of applications for the transportation technology that it's developing. Now board member and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation, Peter Diamandis, has confirmed in an interview with Business Insider that the company is interested in producing an underwater version of the system that could be used to move cargo to floating ports 10 miles offshore.

Hyperloop One transportation technology is designed to move passenger and cargo capsules through evacuated steel tubes at supersonic speeds. The applications floated when the first public demonstration of the technology took place earlier this year included plans to connect Scandinavian cities, an underground tunnel between London and Manchester, and running the Hyperloop tubes underwater as a way to reduce routing costs and revolutionize cargo handling.

Hyperloop One has shown a number of conceptual drawings of the latter, which envisions a future where conventional docklands and port facilities are turned into residential zones and parkland as tubes move cargo handling offshore to floating platforms. Container ships would dock to drop off and pick up cargo from the Hyperloop system at these offshore platforms.

Hyperloop One's electromagnetic propulsion system doing a demonstration run in May 2016(Credit: New Atlas/David Szondy)

"We've been talking to a lot of the port authorities around the world about re-engineering their ports in this kind of fashion," Diamandis told Business Insider.

He went on to say that the reconversion of seaports would produce "a huge real-estate boom" similar to that in London's Docklands after the obsolete port facilities were turned over for business and residential redevelopment.

"Long Beach, near where I live, is a beautiful California coastline that is basically covered with ports or cargo containers and ships," says Diamandis. "Imagine if you could regain all of that coastline for parks and homes and beaches by taking the port and putting the port ten miles off shore."

Hyperloop One plans to run its transport pipelines underwater(Credit: New Atlas/David Szondy)

In addition, Diamandis says that Hyperloop One is discussing underwater passenger travel.

Hyperloop One is also involved in initiatives for Russia and Finland and has announced that it is building a new construction facility at its Nevada test range. However, this string of announcements over the past two months are offset by the fact that the Hyperloop One has yet to address very fundamental questions as to the technical feasibility and commercial viability of its system.

In addition, with the clock ticking against its schedule for a test run of the full system by the end of this year, the company is embroiled in some very serious internal disputes. In June, one of its co-founders Brogan BamBrogan, resigned and filed a lawsuit against Hyperloop One citing financial mismanagement, nepotism, and harassment. Subsequently, the management slapped a countersuit for US$250 million against BamBrogan and others for violation of contract and attempting to stage a "coup" to take over the company.

In the end, whether this recent string of initiative announcements is a sign of a company moving forward or one in damage control is something that only the future can reveal.

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