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.
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