In today’s world of superfast life, the value of time has increased a lot, and at the same time, traffic has become a serious problem. In 2018, it was reported that the Americans spent an average of 97 hours in traffic congestion, costing more than $ 80 billion (INRIX) in the economy.
With the growth of technology over the years, transportation mode has also undergone a rapid change with new innovations – from high specs electric cars to bullet trains. However, It is mentioned that one small idea can change the whole world, and here we will explain the concept that’s about to revolutionize our world and save will over time from getting stuck in traffic jams. Its name is Hyperloop, Which will be as fast as an airplane and bullet train.
Hyperloops aren’t just hype, but the futuristic mode of blazingly fast ground transport has a long and winding path ahead. Hyperloop technology could revolutionize the way we think of transport. But what exactly is it? Here is everything you need to know about this technology.
Before going to know How it works? And How it Will Revolutionize Transportation? First of all, we need to know What is Hyperloop? and When the hyperloop concept begins?
Seatbelts on; let’s find out.
What is Hyperloop?
Hyperloop is one of the most awaited futuristic projects. It is a high-speed sealed tube or system of tubes with low air pressure through which a pod may travel substantially inside a vacuum tube using magnetic levitation and air pressure, reducing a matter of minutes a journey that currently takes hours. It could reach up to a supersonic speed linking the Cities in minutes at a speed of up to 760 miles per hour.
The Hyperloop is a newly proposed form of passenger and freight transportation, currently in development by several companies. At its core, It is all about removing the two things that slow down regular vehicles: friction and air resistance. The concept is based on futuristic-sounding levitating pod travel through a low-pressure tube at subsonic speeds of hundreds of miles of tunnels and tubes, mitigating friction and air resistance to increase speed and efficiency.
This low turbulence and entirely autonomous service are designed to be quiet, direct, and on-demand. It’s a fusion of the three most efficient ways of traveling, combining the directness of a train, the speed of a plane, and the comfort and privacy of your car, with the passenger sitting in pods that travel at airline speed through sealed tubes using electric propulsion and magnetic levitation.
In Hyperloop technology, we can see passengers’ pods move through a partial vacuum in Steel tubes traveling at an airline or hypersonic speeds in a floating pod that races along inside giant low-pressure tubes, either above or below ground while being very energy efficient. This would significantly reduce the travel time of trains and aircraft at a distance of about 930 mph.
Origin of Hyperloop?
It has been touted as the fastest way to cross the surface of the earth, slashing journey time between major cities from several hours to a matter of minutes.
Modern Hyperloops were the brainchild of tech titan Elon Musk, who detailed his theoretical invention in a 2013 white paper whose SpaceX company hosts annual pod-designing competitions.
Hyperloop technology was first conceived in 2012 by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. It was first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by the joint team of Tesla and SpaceX. His initial concept included low-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on the air bearings beneath them, floating them from the surface of tubes powered by linear induction motors and axial compressors.
In July 2012, Musk mentioned that he was thinking about a concept for a “fifth mode of transport,” calling it the Hyperloop.
The idea of transportation of passengers in pneumatic tubes is just not new. The first patent to move items in tubes was taken out in 1799 by the British mechanical engineer and inventor George Medhurst. In 1812, Medhurst wrote a guide detailing his concept of transporting passengers and items by air-tight tubes utilizing air propulsion.
It should be noted that musk’s early Hyperloop technology concept, i.e., the idea of using low-pressure vacuum tubes as part of a transport system, is not a million miles away from the Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s atmospheric railway that ran between Exeter and Plymouth from 1847 to 1848 in the UK.
In the early 1800s, other similar systems proposed or experimented with and were generally known as an atmospheric railway. However, this term is also used for systems where the propulsion is provided by a separate pneumatic tube to the train tunnel itself—the Dalkey Atmospheric Railway, which operated near Dublin between 1844 and 1854.
Similar systems using pressurized air moved wagon carriages of Crystal Palace pneumatic railway to push a wagon uphill (and a vacuum to drag it back down) way back in Victorian south London in 1864.
Another clear predecessor of the Hyperloop technology is the ‘vactrain’ concept developed by American rocket pioneer Robert Goddard early in the 1910s twentieth century; since then, many similar ideas have been proposed without much success, the work of Goddard appears to have the greatest overlap with the Hyperloop. However, since then, we have not seen anything quite like it.
Currently, the world’s fastest train, so-called “maglev” trains, which function via magnetic attraction and repulsion, can achieve speeds of up to 267 mph, have been around as a concept for more than a century and in operation since the mid-1980s.
Impressive. And derivative. But pressurized tubes are old news. However, entrepreneur Elon Musk reignited interest in the concept with his ‘Hyperloop Alpha‘ paper in August 2013, which set out how a modern system would work?
In June 2015, SpaceX announced that it would build a 1-mile-long (1.6 km) test track, which will be located next to SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility. The track will be used to test pod designs supplied by third parties in the competition.
Furthermore, Because the idea was deliberately “open-sourced” by Elon Musk and SpaceX, By November 2015, several other commercial companies and dozens of student teams worldwide have been pursuing to take the idea and further develop the Hyperloop technology.
From inception, Elon Musk always stated that the concept of hyperloop technology would be “open source,” -and he actively encouraged others to come together and develop the necessary technology independently from his involvement.
This lead to the formation of several startups and student teams developing various aspects of Hyperloop Technology with varying degrees of success. Now several fully-fledged companies are making significant strides to bring Hyperloop systems into reality.
Here are some companies working on hyperloop technology and revolutionizing transportation to make our lives easier and comfortable.
- Virgin Hyperloop One
- Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT)
- Hardt Global Mobility
- Hyper Poland
Virgin Hyperloop One:
Virgin Hyperloop One was originally formed in 2014 as Hyperloop one; the company was rebranded following a significant investment from British billionaire Richard Branson in 2017 and has built a team of 280+, including engineers, technicians, welders, and machinists.
The Hyperloop One had raised $295 million on December 18, 2017, and demonstrated a form of propulsion technology on May 11, 2016, at its test site in North Las Vegas.
On 12 May 2017, Hyperloop One performed its first full-scale Hyperloop test, a 500-meter Development Loop (DevLoop), becoming the first company in the world to test a full-scale Hyperloop.
In 2017 Virgin Hyperloop One signed an agreement with the Indian government of Maharashtra and Karnataka to study the impact of Hyperloops in that region. July 2019, following plenty of back and forth, the Indian government finally gives them the target to create the first hyperloop system in the world between Pune and Mumbai. As of May 2019, the company had raised $400 million.
Vying with India to open the first system, Saudi Arabia is also in advanced talks with Virgin Hyperloop, one with the company preparing to build a manufacturing plant and 35-kilometer test track in the north of Jeddah.
In February 2018, the Hyperloop One unveiled its first prototype passenger pods for Dubai – Abu Dhabi Hyperloop route. This network will drastically slash the car travel time between the two cities from two hours to just 12 minutes.
In November 2020, Company co-founder Josh Giegel and head of Passenger Experience Sara Luchian were part of the first crewed Hyperloop trip on the DevLoop in Nevada.
For Virgin Hyperloop One, the hyperloop technology is not a too distant reality. the company’s publicly stated goal is to build the system in place by 2020 or 2021 and to be rolling out more and more globally each year.
Kelly says the Hyperloop One is hoping certification will be concluded by 2023 with a service up and running by 2029. Gendron says TransPod wants certification by 2025.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT):
The second initiative that emerged with some weight was Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), which has a team of engineers working in companies such as Boing, NASA, or SpaceX (among others) and solving challenges in their spare time to make Hyperloop a reality.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is the first Hyperloop company founded in 2013 by JumpStarter, Inc, with a current workforce of more than 800 engineers and professionals located worldwide.
In May 2015, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced that a deal had been finalized with landowners to build a 5-mile test track between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In December 2016, HTT and the government of Abu Dhabi announced plans to conduct a feasibility study on a Hyperloops link between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, reducing travel time between just under 10-minutes. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is also planning a system in the Middle East and has proposed a 60 billion US dollar, 150-kilometer route between Dubai and Abu Dhabi that would put the cities within 15 minutes of each other.
In September 2017, HyperloopTT said it had signed an agreement of understanding with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board, India’s state government, to build a Hyperloop system between Vijaywada and Amaravati, potentially turning a trip of more than one hour into a six-minute ride. The project will use a public-private partnership, with funding primarily coming from private investors and starting with a six-month feasibility study. The company is also developing a route from Bratislava, Slovakia, to Brno, Czech Republic.
In 2018, hyperloop transportation technologies received two projects, one from Ukraine and the other from China. Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry reached an agreement with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to develop its high-speed vacuum transport technology in Ukraine. Moreover, the company signed an agreement with the Guizhou province of China.
Hyperloop transportation technologies making aggressive advancement and recently constructed a 320-meter full-scale test track system in Toulouse, France. The fern, which has its own full-scale test track in France, has announced plans to begin integrating its full-scale passenger capsule for human trials in 2020, with work on commercial operation expected to begin in 2023. Hyperloop TT hopes to have the route operational by 2028.
Advantages of Hyperloop:
Traffic jams are a significant problem on this planet, and a lot of effort has been made to avoid this because people lose a lot of their time in traffic. Moreover, It is the most appropriate solution to this problem.
The advantages of Hyperloops are considerable. Like train station, Hyperloop stations called “portals” are planned to be located within inner-city areas with easy links to existing transport infrastructure. This gives the Hyperloop system a distinct advantage over air travel, where airports tend to be located beyond city limits with fewer accessibility options.
Another clear benefit is its speed. It could significantly reduce the travel time between cities. It could be possible to live in a completely different city or a part of the country from where you work, with a commute no dissimilar in length to the one you perhaps.
This opens up a wide range of housing and employment opportunities with people no longer restricted to have anything close to where they work. Rather than serving as cross-country transportation, It will most likely connect cities in the same region.
It could also be cheaper and faster than a high-speed train or car travel, and cheaper and less polluting than air travel. It is lower cost and more energy efficient because a hyperloop system requires very little energy to propel pods through its tube as the vacuum environment poses little resistance. As such, the systems could be powered by renewable technologies such as solar and wind, offering a considerable alternative to air travel.
What are the advantages of the Hyperloop in India?
The Hyperloop system will transform the Indian traveling experience as it has the following advantages. In the context of India, using such a technology, as has been proposed for the railways recently, can bring about significant transformations in the following ways:
- Tremendous savings in travel time for both passengers as well as freight transportation.
2. A significant cost reduction if the technology is adopted, especially when compared with alternatives such as bullet trains.
3. Significant reduction in energy consumption, and also reduces pollution.
4. Has the potential to bring revolution in the entire transport sector.
5. Boost economic productivity and GDP growth.
6. Will be able to reduce traffic congestion
7. Able to reduce energy consumption significantly
Hyperloop technology is, without doubt, a significant technological breakthrough and tremendous potential to provide multiple spillover benefits in various fields.
How much does it cost to build a Hyperloop?
Two major factors are involved in the cost of a hyperloop system: capsule manufacturing and tube manufacturing.
Most of the system’s cost lies in constructing the tube network: the overall cost of tubes, pillars, vacuum pumps, and stations was calculated to be just over $ 4 billion for the passenger version of the Hyperloop.
When Elon Musk conceived of the Hyperloop technology in 2013, he estimated that a route from Los Angeles to the Bay Area would cost about $6 billion, or $11.5 million per mile.
The total cost of the 40 capsules expected for the project is estimated at $ 54 million(or $ 70m for a mixture of passenger and cargo capsules). The cost per capsule was kept at around $ 1.35 million per piece. This is less than 9% of the cost of the proposed passenger-only high-speed rail system.
However, leaked documents obtained by Forbes show that Hyperloop One — one of two companies attempting to make Musk’s idea a reality — is estimating the cost of a potential 107-mile Bay Area project to be somewhere between $9 billion and $13 billion, or $84 million to $121 million per mile.
The route between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which the company recently announced ahead of a new $50 million round of funding, would cost $4.8 billion, or $52 million a mile.
Due to the scale of this project, the size is reflected in the price tag. Namely, the 25,000 concrete “pylons” that support the tube are projected to cost a total of $2.5 billion. Other notable costs include $650 million for the tube, $600 million for tunnels, and around $1 billion for land acquisition.
Spreading the capital cost over 20 years and adding operational costs, According to Elon Musk’s math, a one-way passenger pod ticket will cost just $20.
For the Los Angeles to San Francisco advanced Hyperloop system that Tesla CEO Elon Musk envisaged, he came up with a $6 billion price tag to $7.5 billion. Musk envisioned that Los Angeles to San Francisco journey time of half an hour with pod departures every 30 seconds, each carrying 28 passengers.
Many economists and transportation experts have expressed the belief that the US$6 billion price tags dramatically understates the cost of designing, developing, constructing, and testing an all-new form of transportation.
But Virgin Hyperloop One is vaguer on its plans: As per Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd, it could value $10 million to construct one mile of two-way-track (which is lower than a high-speed rail system challenge in California), although this estimate doesn’t embody how a lot of money it is going to require to keep up a working hyperloop system.
A study conducted by Virgin Hyperloop One estimated that the Pune-Mumbai route could eventually support 150 million passenger trips each year and over 30 years of operation could result in $55bn (INR ₹350,000 crores)-worth of socio-economic benefits — via time savings, emissions and accident reduction, and operational cost savings.
When will the Hyperloop be Ready?
Several different companies are working to turn the idea into a functioning commercial Hyperloop technology system. We can estimate that the maximum estimated time for a fully functional and operational hyperloop in many countries and many regions of the planet is 2030.
Hyperloop technology is still in development even though the basic concept has been around for many years. At the moment, the earliest is likely to be up and running is 2023, but most services are expected to be later, as trials of the technology are still in their early stages.
“Probably, realistically, 2030 is the earliest that anybody will get to that point,” says Dulake,
Though there is not an exact date as to when the hyperloop technology will be available to the masses, but there have been several tests that have already been conducted successfully with positive results and backed by recent developments; we might be traveling inside these high-speed transports in the coming years sooner than later.
Future of Hyperloop System Technology:
Hyperloop is a technology that could have a considerable impact. It could reduce travel time between big cities, boost economies and trade, and reduce housing pressure in cities by allowing commuters to live further away.
However, I have not seen whether any of these have yet been proven or the efforts are being made in the right areas. It is becoming one of many pillars in a revolutionary transit network, but it is far from the saving grace we currently need. These technologies will need to surmount major technical and commercial hurdles before taking passengers from a city to one another in comfort through a pneumatic tube.
The subsequent stage for Hyperloop technology is to move beyond initial testing and feasibility research, begin long-distance trials of the technology, and, much more importantly, testing the service with passengers. Another challenge will likely be to seek out business fashions that work around the globe. Only when all that is completed will it grow to be clear whether this technology can actually grow to be successful.
Hyperloop has the solution to all this, but there is not much in the future for this system in terms of commuter traffic, which alone can change the world.
For a technology that Elon Musk once said that it would deliver “a smooth as glass” passenger experience, It has so far been a bumpy ride. However, with breakthroughs now being met on technology and testing and growing Government support Around The World, the prospect of the world’s first Hyperloop system welcoming passengers in the next decade is no longer just a pipe dream. Maybe once Musk gets his vision up and running, It will find its place.
While the Idea of hyperloop technology may seem far-fetched, when you consider industrial progress made in the past 200 years, the current rate of Technology Adoption in society, and the significant advances have been made by many companies around the world, this incredible new Transportation system looks likes set to become a part of our everyday life in the very near future.
Hyperloop is a fad by no means, but only time can tell when it may become the future.