Hyperloop Technology: The Future of High-Speed Transportation

By Tamanna Desai
Tech & Innovation Writer
According to Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, anything you imagine, can be turned into reality. For him, it was the idea that humans and cargo could be transported in a capsule-like unit propelled by a vacuum-like pipeline from one city to another. This mode of transportation is now known as the Hyperloop.

On a technical level, Hyperloop has five main components to it. The compressor, vacuum tube, propulsion, air bearings and payload make up the Hyperloop capsule according to Forbes Magazine. The compressor is a fan that propels the capsule via air pressure while the vacuum part pulls on the capsule so that it does not move backwards. Furthermore, propulsion in the Hyperloop is accomplished thorugh a magnetic field that relies on magnetic strips along the sides of the tube. The payload is where the cargo and in the future, people are stationed and the air bearings ease the capsule to a stop. CNN reports that the capsule will be using renewable energy such as solar power and the force of magnetic fields, air pressure and wind power to propel and pull the capsule through the pipelines. Gizmag’s theory of how the Hyperloop works is using motors and magnetic strips that create enough energy to force the capsule to move. Musk’s idea of this magnetic vacuum capsule is being pursued by two different startups. The two companies, Hyperloop Technology and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) are based in California and are racing to build the first test track for cargo to be transported.

Hyperloop Technology is a traditional style company spearheaded by Shervin Pishevar (Partner at SherpaVentures and major investor in Uber), Afshin Pishevar (renowned Maryland attorney), Jim Messina (White House Deputy Chief of Staff under President Obama), and David Sacks (Chief Operating Official at PayPal). Together this team is turning Musk’s vision into a test track through private money loans. According to Forbes Magazine, the company will need an estimated $88.5 Million dollars to get the idea engineered and tested. The team will be using Brogan BamBrogan’s (SpaceX Engineer) engineering expertise to initially build the track in which the capsule will be tested.

On the contrary, Dirk Alhborn (Chief Executive Officer of JumpStart Fund) and Bibop Gabriele Gresta (Founder of Digitalmagics) are running a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT).

The idea of magnetically propelled high-speed trains are already a proven and utilized technology. Take for example, China’s Maglev train. Known as the world’s fastest train travels at a speed of 300 miles per hour whereas the Hyperloop is expected to travel at speeds around 700 miles per house according to CNN.

Of course both Hyperloop Tech and HTT are expected to incur huge costs but in the long run, the new mode of transportation is believed to be more efficient and less dangerous for the environment. CNN reports that HTT will finish their models and test runs roughly by 2019. Fortune reports an estimated $8 billion will be needed in order to set up the first Hyperloop from San Francisco to Los Angeles. However, many magazines are announcing that the first Hyperloop will not be set up in America due to strict laws and a need for infrastructure to replace old transportation systems.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 17th print edition.

Contact Tamanna at
tamanna.desai@student.shu.edu

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