First Successful Hyperloop One Test Completed In Secret


Hyperloop One completed its first successful test two months ago, but word is just filtering out about that achievement now. Hyperloop One has a completed construction of a 500 meter long test track — which it calls its DevLoop –in the Nevada desert. On May 12, it inserted its 28 foot long Hyperloop pod into the test track and accelerated it using electromagnetic propulsion and mag-lev technology to 70 miles per hour.

Hyperloop One Pod

Underwhelmed by that news? Don’t be. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Hyperloop technology started as a brain wave Elon Musk got years ago while stewing in the back of a limousine that was stuck in Los Angeles traffic. At the time, no one knew if the idea could be turned into reality anytime this century. The company now intends to refine its systems in the hope of achieving speeds of 250 miles per hour. The theoretical speed limit for the Hyperloop is three times that speed.

The essence of the Hyperloop is that the tube it travels through operates in a partial vacuum. Less air means less air resistance. Aerodynamic drag is geometrically proportional to speed. That means the resistance of any object moving through the air becomes four times greater when speed is doubled. “Hyperloop One has accomplished what no one has done before by successfully testing the first full scale Hyperloop system,” said co-founder Shervin Pishevar in a statement. “By achieving full vacuum, we essentially invented our own sky in a tube, as if you’re flying at 200,000 feet in the air.”

The Hyperloop One vehicle is a pod that looks like a speed boat turned upside down. It is 28 feet long and constructed using aluminum and carbon fiber for strength and light weight. The successful test is a “Kitty Hawk” moment, according to Pishevar, comparing to the first manned flight of a heavier than air machine by the Wright Brothers on the outer banks of North Carolina in 1903. Those inclined to snicker at the modest level of performance achieved by this first Hyperloop One test would do well to look at the global network of commercial passenger flights today and realize it all began on that windswept beach more than a century ago.

The testing was done in private after the company got a ton of negative press after its first test in May, 2016. In that test, a 1,500 pound sled went hurtling down a track and crashed into a pile of sand less than 2 seconds later. A world hyped up on spectacular events yawned.

Representatives of the company have been crisscrossing the world, drumming up interest from governments around the globe for this new transportation technology. It has expressions of interest from the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Moscow, and the UK. The company is also considering eleven routes in the US for its ultrafast, futuristic transportation system. It presented it proposals, which it calls its Plan For America, at a conference in Washington, DC earlier this year.

Source: The Verge


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  • PeteDisqus321

    Elon’s optimistic route capacity estimate is 840 passengers per hour (in one direction). This is an incredibly low throughput for a transit system. This fact alone kills it for me.

    • Steve Hanley

      Perhaps that is why Elon has pivoted to his underground tunnel idea, although that also seems to be limited to relatively few passengers per hour.

    • Jonny_K

      The 405 in LA which might well have been where Elon Musk was stalled, averages about 379,000 vehicles per day. Even running 24/7 at full tilt, the 840/hour Hyperloop could move only about 20,000 people/day, about 5% of the traffic on the 405.

      Am I doing the math wrong? It must be better than that.

      Still I would like to ride it, but I say Steve tries it first.

      • PeteDisqus321

        Existing high speed rail seems to have a route capacity that is at least an order of magnitude higher than Musk’s optimistic estimate for Hyperloop. Intercity routes are all about capacity. Personally I don’t think it’s one of Elon’s best ideas.

      • Steve Hanley

        Oh, thanks! ‘ – ) The dirty little secret, I suspect, is that such systems will be affordable only to some. IOW, they will not be public transportation systems but rather private transportation systems.

        Additionally, there are mutterings that they may not carry passengers at all but will be used primarily for freight. Can’t really see they being used for bulky, heavy loads, though, like bauxite or iron ore.

  • Maisha Grinn

    Never tire of comments by posters who are “smarter than Elon” but too busy working for some random manager someplace to actually do anything with their genius.