In short, Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system that is being backed by billionaire Elon Musk, but has also been made open-source so that others can work on it as well. It functions by sending capsules shooting through continuous steel tubes at an astonishing 760 MPH, which is possible because the capsules are meant to be floating on a cushion of air instead of being borne on wheels. At the moment, Hyperloop has not entered into practical use, though it is important to note that there are a number of companies working on such systems.
Hyperloop Technologies is building a line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is building a line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, while TransPod in Canada is still considering where it will situated its line. Other teams consisting of both students and non-students have also expressed a strong interest in the high-speed transportation system, as shown by their participation in a number of Hyperloop-related competitions.
What Is Hyperloop’s Potential?
There are a number of reasons that Hyperloop should interest people:
1. First and foremost, Hyperloop promises to be able to reach speeds of 720 MPH, which means that passengers on the planned route between Los Angeles and San Francisco can expect a travel time of no more than 30 minutes. For comparison, most trains in the United States travel between 100 MPH and 150 MPH, while commercial airplanes travel somewhere between 500 MPH and 600 MPH. As a result, while the need for continuous steel tubes means that Hyperloop is much more limited in where it can send passengers than some of the other transportation systems out there, it is much more efficient and effective than those unfortunate enough to be competing for the same routes, which should come as welcome news to people who are fed up with travel times.
2. Hyperloop promises to be safer and more secure than its competitors, which should reassure those who are concerned about its speed. In short, this is because the capsules sent shooting through the continuous steel tubes are suspended using a passive levitation system, meaning that they will continue levitating even if something causes a sudden loss of power and come to a stop once they have reached a much slower speed. This is in contrast to other transportation systems, which tend to not fare so well when their means of movement is stopped, to say the least.
3. On a related note, Hyperloop has lower start-up costs than comparable high-speed transportation systems such as maglev trains. For example, maglev trains are similar to other train systems in that they need tracks for their vehicles, but it is important to note that they also need copper coils along the tracks, which results in higher costs because of both copper’s price on the open market and the cost of turning copper into copper coils. In contrast, Hyperloop is capable of using aluminum instead of copper, which is a much cheaper option while still remaining more than capable of standing up to the stresses that it is expected to endure.
4. Better still, Hyperloop has lower operating costs as well. In main, this is because much of the electricity needed to power its capsules through its continuous steel tubes is generated when the capsules are forced to decelerate close to the end of their voyages. Not only is this a clever way of making sure that the power created when they come to a stop are not wasted, but it also makes them an extremely efficient way to travel, which has become more and more important in a world where the minimization of costs without a corresponding minimization in benefits has become more and more concerning to not just businesses but also public organizations.
5. There are a couple of reasons that Hyperloop can be considered the eco-friendly option when it comes to high-speed transportation systems. First, its capsules are sent shooting through continuous steel tubes using electricity, which is much better than transports that use petroleum products since it can be generated through various renewable sources of energy. Second, it generates much of the electricity that it uses through its own design, which is not just beneficial for its budget but also beneficial for its lowering of its carbon footprint. Simply put, even if the people behind high-speed transportation systems care little about minimizing the harmful impact on the planet, they stand to benefit by brushing up their image in the view of their potential customers, since it has been proven that corporate responsibility does create positive impressions in potential customers, which in turn, increase their chances of buying products and services from the businesses that choose to adopt such practices.
6. Finally, Elon Musk’s decision to make Hyperloop open-source is interesting because it has opened up the high-speed transportation system to a wide range of interested individuals instead of keeping it constrained to his own company. As a result, different teams can now compete to create different ways to implement Hyperloop, which is beneficial not just for accessing a bigger pool of talent than otherwise possible but also for encouraging each team to do its best through the power of relatively friendly competition. Better still, the open-source nature of Hyperloop ensures that even if one of its adopters meets with failure because of a lack of sufficient funding or some other reason, the other adopters will continue pushing forward because that failure will have a minimal effect on their. This means that Hyperloop has the highest chance of becoming a real option when it comes to traveling between cities not just throughout North America but perhaps one day, throughout the world, which should bring all of the benefits mentioned here plus some other possibilities as well.
For the moment, Hyperloop has not entered into public use. However, its enormous potential combined with the sheer amount of interest shown in the high-speed transportation system means that this is no more than a matter of time. Whether Hyperloop will be able to live up to all of its promises remains to be seen, but it promises to be an exciting future nonetheless.