Technology

Hyperloop transport is the next mode of transport

Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that moves people and freight quickly, safely, on-demand, and direct from origin to destination, with minimal impact to the environment.

Passengers or cargo are loaded into the Hyperloop vehicle, or pod, and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion to speeds of up to 1,200 km/h through a low-pressure tube.

The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Rapid acceleration and deceleration also enables Hyperloop to be used on metropolitan or regional scales.

Hyperloop will be built on columns or tunnelled below ground to avoid dangerous grade crossings. It is fully autonomous and enclosed, eliminating pilot error and weather hazards. Hyperloop is also safe, clean, and quiet, with no direct carbon emissions.

Hyperloop is being designed to convey both container freight and passengers. This offers flexibility and competitive advantages over conventional wheel-on-steel high-speed rail systems, which cannot carry container freight.

Think of Hyperloop as broadband for transport.

Hyperloop transport technology development to date

Hyperloop One started in 2014 and has raised more than US$150 million. It has more than 225 full-time staff and dozens of patent applications filed on Hyperloop technology.

In May 2016, Hyperloop One successfully demonstrated and validated its proprietary electric propulsion system. The open-air test accelerated a metal sled from 0 to 175 km/h in less than 2 seconds.

Hyperloop One is continuing to refine its motor and electronics to increase power and efficiency and to reduce cost.

Having successfully built and demonstrated its proprietary propulsion system, Hyperloop One intends to demonstrate a full-system test, at its own full-scale Development Loop (Devloop) in the Nevada desert.

DevLoop has been designed and built to deliver Proof of Technology: to demonstrate that all the required Hyperloop systems – tube, pod, vacuum, propulsion, levitation and control system – can be integrated and operated together successfully.

Looking south from the tube installation at DevLoop

Since the beginning of 2017, Hyperloop One has been engaged in final testing of the various sub-systems prior to their integration at DevLoop. Building on the testing already in progress, Hyperloop One is on track to perform a public trial.

Hyperloop One’s goal is to continue building longer and faster systems, capable of cruising at up to 1,200 km/h and to be moving cargo by 2020 and passengers by 2021.

In parallel, Hyperloop One has begun the early stages of the certification process to meet existing regulations where appropriate and to create new ones as needed.

You can see Co-founder Josh Giegel, CEO Rob Lloyd and Global Ops Chief Nick Earle provide an update the state of the company and plans for the DevLoop test on the Engadget stage at CES 2017 here.

Hyperloop One projects

Hyperloop One has announced seven Hyperloop projects – four are freight only systems, with the other three being freight and passenger systems.

  • Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai.  Exploring passenger and cargo routes in the UAE.  An example route would be the 60km from Al Maktoum Airport to Dubai International Airport, which will shrink trip time from 1 hour to 6 minutes.  Status: A feasibility study is underway.  Hyperloop One’s vision of what the Hyperloop transport system might look like can be seen here.
  • DP World of Dubai.  Exploring a cargo off-loader system from the Port of Jebel Ali in Dubai to a new inland terminal.  Status: A feasibility study is underway.
  • Ports of LA/Long Beach.  Exploring a cargo off-loader system.  Status: A feasibility study is underway.
  • Scandinavia: Developing a 500 km route connecting Helsinki to Stockholm.  Status: A pre-feasibility study is complete and is available for down load here.  A more detailed project study under development.
  • Russia: Moscow to New Moscow commuter link.  Status: A pre-feasibility study is complete.
  • Russia: Port of Zarubino to Hunchun, China.  A 65-km cargo system.  Status: A pre-feasibility study is complete.
  • Switzerland: National underground logistics network that could potentially be operated with Hyperloop technology.  A feasibility study is underway.

The Hyperloop One Global Challenge

The Hyperloop One Global Challenge is Hyperloop One’s worldwide competition to find locations with the greatest potential to develop and build the world’s first Hyperloop networks.

The response was positive, with over 2,600 teams registering for the Global Challenge since it was announced in May 2016. Hyperloop One received applications from governments, regional groups, universities and private companies in more than 100 countries.

After a review of applications, Hyperloop One has identified 35 semi-finalists – 20 of these come with commitments of support from local, state and federal governments and agencies.

The Global Challenge expert panel comprises:

  • Peter Diamandis, Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation.
  • Bassam Mansour, International Railway Industry Advisor and Director of Rail Systems at HSS Engineers.
  • Clive Burrows, Group Engineering Director for FirstGroup.
  • Ulla Tapaninen, Senior Specialist in Economic Development for the City of Helsinki and adjunct professor at University of Turku.
Global Challenge semi-finalists

After a further round of assessment, Hyperloop One’s panel of experts in transportation, technology, economics and innovation will identify about six winning projects to work further with Hyperloop One. The finalists will work with Hyperloop One to connect with financing and government partners and to undertake feasibility studies, for a Hyperloop transport system.

Global Challenge showcases

Hyperloop One has also announced three Global Challenge showcases. These are to explore how projects in the Global Challenge can fundamentally improve economies and regions. Invited semi-finalists will detail their proposals at a series of showcase events around the world.

India

Hyperloop One held the first Global Challenge showcase in New Delhi on 28 February 2017.

The showcase provided five teams from India with the opportunity to present their proposals for Hyperloop transport routes.

India Hyperloop route proposals
India Hyperloop route proposals

The proposed routes will span over 3,800 kms across India.

The showcase, which was graced by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon. Minister of Railways and Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, discussed how Hyperloop One can integrate with and augment India’s vast transport network with reliable, clean, and on-demand autonomous transport, connecting India’s major cities at faster-than-airline speeds.

USA

Hyperloop One held the second Global Challenge showcase in Washington DC on 6 April 2017.

The showcase provided eleven teams from the USA with the opportunity to present their proposals for Hyperloop transport routes.

USA Hyperloop route proposals
USA Hyperloop route proposals

Collectively, the eleven routes will link 35 cities and covering more than 4,500 km.

The showcase featured a roundtable of speakers discussing the future of transportation.  Keynote remarks were delivered by Tyler Duvall, partner at McKinsey & Co. and former Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the US Department of Transportation.

Europe

Hyperloop One held the third Global Challenge showcase in Amsterdam on 6 June 2017.

The showcase provided none teams from Europe with the opportunity to present their proposals for Hyperloop transport routes.

Europe Europe Hyperloop route proposals
Europe Hyperloop route proposals

The proposed routes will connect over 75 million people in 44 cities, spanning 5,000 kms.

The routes were presented as part of the all-day summit that included a panel discussion around the economic advantages of Hyperloop and a keynote address from Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen.