Virgin’s Hyperloop One may soon revolutionize the travel industries. The concept was popularized by Elon Musk and then offered by one of his companies as an open-source technology to be shared by all. Virgin then decided to pick it up and started its testing in 2017. The idea is to propel a capsule that carries passengers in a vacuum tube by using magnetic levitation. Since the capsule won’t encounter air resistance, speeds ranging from 800 to almost 1000 kilometers an hour could be attainable. Virgin is currently experimenting on a full-scale test track of 1640 feet long. Their capsule, traveling in an 11-foot wide tube, as so far attained speeds of about 380 kilometers an hour. Other companies such as Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and TransPod also started developing their own prototypes but are currently only at the computer simulation stage.
Once the technology will be ready for commercial use it will definitely transform the traveling industry. The fact that the capsule travel in a vacuum makes this way of transportation less energy-intensive and less expensive to operate. Furthermore, since the tube protects the capsule from all external nuisance, traveling will not be impeded by bad weather like snowstorms or atmospheric turbulences. It is likely that the Hyperloop system will slowly replace the aviation industry or a least greatly reduce its share of the pie.
Subsequently, other companies like Amazon could build their own networks of Hyperloop to be used for shipping purposes reducing, even more, their delivery delays. Basically, all the big warehouses located in the major cities could be equipped with a Hyperloop system from which they would get their shipments. Then, a smaller version of the Hyperloop could distribute single orders from the warehouse to different relay points all around the metropole.
A Hyperloop system would probably come with some challenges like how to build such networks in urban areas where space is sparse, or building tube underwater to cross the oceans. Nevertheless, the advantages of a Hyperloop network benefit us greatly. For instance, in replacing airplane travel it will help to largely reduce our carbon emission giving us a chance in slowing down global warming. Additionally, it will provide us with a faster and safer way of traveling. Finally, it will probably be cheaper for users permitting them to travel more often.
Considering the tremendous investement and time it will take to build such a system, the Hyperloop is probably not going to be available soon. Let’s hope that there will be more interess taken in this project, not only by tech visionaries but also by our governments that could greatly accelerate the development of such a project.