January 3, 2018
‘The future is already here; it’s just not very evenly distributed’ – William Gibson
Yes the Future is here! Virgin’s supersonic pod Hyperloop One has successfully delivered in the full scale test by reaching an amazing 240 mph. It has broken the earlier record set by Tesla at 220 mph. During the test phase conducted on December 15 on the grounds of Nevada, the pod that uses magnetic levitation through vacuum created a break-through in Hyperloop realization.
Theoretically Hyperloop can achieve a maximum speed of 700 mph. If the concept is realised it could take the pod 380 miles in about half an hour. The transition from normal atmospheric and vacuum conditions was experimented using new airlock systems. The pod uses minimum energy to attain high speeds because it travels in extremely low air pressure which reduces friction and air resistance.
The Maiden run
While conducting the test, the approximate air pressure inside the tube was that of 200,000 feet above sea level. Built in a nearly airless environment in which the 28 foot long pod is loaded into a 1600 foot long tube, it can take you faster than a bullet train. The unmanned test pod that ran through an evacuated cylinder reached a speed of nearly 387 km/h during the third test phase that was accomplished on December 15th.
The ultimate mission is to carry passengers and goods creating a system of tubes across distances that can take passengers at airline speeds. The fact is that the system neither has air friction due to the vacuum, nor ground friction as it uses magnetic levitation. This makes it cheaper and faster to operate, compared to other modes of transportation that rely mostly on fossil fuels. Due to very low aerodynamic drag, the pod will lift above the track and glide at a speed an airline picks up during long distance travel. Now you can imagine where you can enter a pod to reach your destination in no time. But I’m pretty sure you can’t stand or walk like you do in other modes of transit. You don’t want to be a victim of inertia.
In total the company has raised $295 million since it was found in 2014 which gave a head start to your dream of travelling between locations at hyper speeds. After a global strategic partnership was signed up with the Virgin Group the company is set to raise another investment worth $50 million. The venture looks up to pursue opportunities in key markets like the Europe, Russia and Middle East with the help of investors like Caspian Venture Capital and DP World. It has already raised $50 million from foreign venture capital investors and the new chairman of the board of directors is Richard Branson.
Relevancy in future
Hyperloop pods would help connecting people to jobs that were previously inaccessible to workers who need to commute over longer distances. Hyperloop is soon to reach out to all places in the world and will make travelling much more easy and more over faster. In turn, this can help bridging the divisions in social and economic norms. On the other hand it is good for business as it saves a lot of time for commuters. In case of a regular worker who believes that an extra dollar is better than an extra hour, this might not prove very productive.
The Hyperloop that runs through a tube that is nearly vacuum and bullet trains that use magnetic levitation to travel at high speeds when combined gives amazing results. But realizing the full fledged concept of Hyperloop has uncertainties as it faces issues due to politics and regulation.