Urban Transport

Hyperloop Technologies to start testing high-speed transport system next month

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Hyperloop Technologies plans to start testing its transport system in Nevada next month
Hyperloop Technologies plans to start testing its transport system in Nevada next month
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Hyperloop Technologies plans to start testing its transport system in Nevada next month
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Hyperloop Technologies plans to start testing its transport system in Nevada next month

The race to get us racing through near-vacuum tubes close to the speed of sound is heating up. Hyperloop Technologies, one of the startups looking to commercialize Elon Musk's futuristic transport concept, has announced plans to commence testing on an open-air track in Nevada next month, with a view to hitting speeds of 700 mph (1,126 km/h) by the end of 2016.

Not to be confused with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, another startup formed in 2013 that is developing its own 5-mile test track in Quay Valley, Hyperloop Technologies is looking to move cargo around in addition to people. It also happens to have some big names at the wheel, notably XPrize Foundation chair Peter Diamandis and former SpaceX engineer Brogan Bambrogan.

To confuse things just a little further, Elon Musk's SpaceX is in the process of building its own 1-mile test track and will host a competition among university and independent engineering teams to build their own transport pod prototypes.

But Hyperloop Technologies is looking to get out ahead of the competition. It has reached an agreement to start testing on a site of around 50 acre (20.2 ha) in Nevada in early 2016. The construction materials for what it calls the Propulsion Open Air Test will start rolling in this month, with operations to begin in January.

The track will stretch over around 1 km (0.62 mi), but rather than actually shuttling along a passenger pod, it will be used with a test vehicle capable of hitting 540 km/h (335 mph) in two seconds in order to put the company's linear electric motor through its paces.

Hyperloop Technologies considers this the first step toward a full-scale 3 km (1.86 mi) test track where pods will be levitated and zipped through low-friction tubes at 700 mph (1,126 km/h). Though the company is anticipating this track to be completed and in use by late 2016 or early 2017, it is yet to decide on a location. Its publicly stated goal is to deliver a fully operational Hyperloop system by 2020.

The video below gives a brief overview of the Propulsion Open Air Test.

Source: Hyperloop Technologies

10 comments
Derek Howe
Awesome, hope all goes good. This tech makes bullet trains seem antiquated.
Jimjam
I still think a halbach array maglev is supperior to air sleds as it allows greater clearance between the vehicle and track. Musk's hyperloop has only 1.5mm of clearance. You'd have to have an almost perfect track which would probably be very expensive (the Shanghai maglev had the same issue).
jamesd5177
I'm completely in favor of technology that speeds up transportation. The problem is that I don't believe that private industry will be able to finance and develop the technology into a viable network. I do have a suggestion as to how the United States as a whole could invest and develop this technology. Please see my idea at- http://jimsqualityproductrecommendations.com/jims-rant/ A nationwide system can and should be developed. Hyper speed is a wonderful idea. I hope that this system can be developed in such a manner that the American people as a whole can invest and profit by the network.
Daniel Harbin
I think its great private companies are developing this technology verses the government. Government will only screw this up big time and cause it to be bloated and late. The rail system developed in the 1800's worked well because there was financial incentive and innovation caused by such incentives. Government was involved by land grants and condemnation along with any clout needed to speed up the projects. I see one big problem with any enterprise like this, the threat of terrorism and easy picking of this system. High speed and small bombs would really hurt this.
habakak
Yeah. Not going to happen. Don't tell me this is possible because we put a man on the moon. It's not a technology issue, it's a land owner and legal issue. And cost (for now at least). Besides, cars are the best form of transportation for 95% of the travelling that 95% of people do. What we should build is autonomous flying cars. Take to the air for long distances and use the road when you get to your destination. That's what we do now, except there's all the hassle of transferring from cars to trains/planes/boats and then back to cars. But yeah, it's a technology problem right now, so Hyperloop it is....
EdTantamount
Why don't you brainiacs put your theories to the test and get out there like these people are? Easy to sit behind your computer and criticize. That is not innovation and will never lead to it.
ezeflyer
Its great to see Big Money do things that actually benefit everyone instead of just churning money in Wall Street trades without producing anything, or making weapons to kill people more efficiently. Go Elon!
White Druid
For a long time, horses were 95% of the transportation needs of 95% of the people. The advantage was that you could take a horse anywhere you needed to go. But, the disadvantage was that you needed to generally be awake and aware of where you were as the horse needed to be guided. It also had the disadvantage that you could only deal with so much travel time in a single day. That and it was relatively slow traveling. Along came the raildroads and people had the ability to get from one side of the country to another many times faster than previously available. But eventually technology came up with the personal automobile. We regained the ability to travel anywhere, not just the set pathways that the trains traveled. The speed of cars often exceeds that of a train and the flexibility of a car is superior to a train and as a result, trains became relegated to moving people locally and freight nationally with nominal passenger service for those that need it. Fast forward to today and we have a matrix of airplanes making higher speed between distant cities on the planet possible. No car can compete with the speed of an airplane. Looking forward into tomorrow, two major things may hopefully come to pass... automated guidance of the car and higher speed transit in the form of routable pods. The automated car guidance should allow us to become safer on our roads and allow for faster travel speeds within the limits of rubber wheels and pavement. But the real advantage comes not from a single hyperloop, but from a nationwide network of evacuated tubes and a capsule/pod that can be injected into the "network" in location A, be switched to appropriate tubes/loops automatically and emerge in location B without having to stop at any place in between. Computer control of packets/pods will be essential and not impossible. It's a similar problem to the local transit automated car problem but with fewer decisions. I imagine a day when we have 700+MPH tubes and 4-12 passenger pods able to be inserted into the network and "routed" through the network to come out in whatever location is needed. It will take a while with small disparate loops initially, much the same way that we had small disparate railroads initially. But hopefully we will have the foresight to ensure that our tubes and capsules are all built to the same size standards for interoperability.
WayneMasters
Number one, where does everyone have to travel so far and so fast to? Driving satisfies many needs of a human. An isolation event twice a day to reflect on the rest of the day. That's lost in multi-passenger transit. I'm a tech with many unfinished inventions but the rest of the city here is still riding a horse in their minds. How do I know? All my recent clean technical proposals were rejected by the local government budget public input naysayers. Cheers to Elon as well.
Nostromo47
Personal automobiles are great. They have tremendous appeal, especially to Americans who like to call themselves exceptional. But the future belongs to the efficient and using cars to move people is extremely inefficient in terms of energy expenditure and copious in terms of greenhouse gas released per person per mile. Further down the road (pun intended) there are millions more others in the developing world (read, China and India and Brazil and......) who aspire to join us with their very own shiny cars to realize the kind of freedom of movement and power we enjoy today. Sorry to be the party pooper, but we really do need to get out of our cars and find an efficient and clean alternative. Visionaries like Elon Musk are contributing to that future.