The future is here, according to two new technology companies inspired by Elon Musk’s vision to create “the fifth mode of transportation.”
Hyperloop Technologies are attempting to create a new type of hyper-speed transportation train system using low-pressure tubes.
Reaching speeds of up to 800 miles per hour, the new high-tech train would be able to transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes, according to Hyperloop Technologies’ promotional video released on YouTube.
Rob Lloyd, the newly appointed CEO for Hyperloop Technologies, said in a press release that his company’s vision is “compelling and disruptive.”
Hyperloop Technologies already has more than 50 full-time employees across engineering, design, manufacturing, legal and human resources. Lloyd said Hyperloop is “the most transformative new mode of transportation that the world has seen in decades.”
Lloyd also shared what his company had already achieved under the lead of former SpaceX engineer and Hyperloop Technologies co-founder Brogan Bambrogan, who became CTO of the company this week:
- Compressor: Each HyperPod has a compressor on its forward facing surface that takes in the air in front of it instead of displacing it. This significantly reduces the drag on the Pod as it travel through the tube. We are developing this unique compressor technology to operate at the very high-speeds and low-pressures experienced during operation. We have custom-built a wind tunnel that allows us to do both single blade and cascade tests over a wide variety of speeds & pressures. This will also allow us to test scale models of the innovative HyperPod concepts.
- Levitation: To support the HyperPod and payload during operation, we are baselining the use of air bearings. We have built a Levitation Test Rig to evaluate a variety of air bearing configurations at surface speeds up to 740 mph. We’re also looking at some intriguing alternatives to air bearings such as a passive magnetic levitation (maglev) design.
- Propulsion: All electric linear motors are used to propel the HyperPods through the tube. The same motors are used to break the pods during normal operation, allowing us to recapture much of the energy. We are optimizing and innovating on the full system of elements required for our high-speed propulsion system. These systems include: advanced energy storage, high-power drives & power electronics, high-speed controls, and our custom electromagnetic motor.
- Tube Manufacturing: We are innovating heavily on the tube architecture, construction, and manufacturing process in an effort to build an extremely strong and cost-effective tube structure which can be built and deployed hundreds of kilometers at a time.
While the concept seems distantly futuristic, the new startup is building a two-mile test track at its L.A. campus that it expects to be ready for testing by 2016 or early 2017.