Hyperloop moves closer to near-su­per­sonic rail

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: US startup Hyperloop One an­nounced the first suc­cess­ful full-sys­tems test of its near-su­per­sonic rail tran­sit sys­tem. The test took place in May at the com­pany’s de­vel­op­ment track in the Ne­vada desert near Las Ve­gas, and in­volved a ve­hi­cle coast­ing above tracks for slightly more than five sec­onds us­ing mag­netic lev­i­ta­tion, ac­cord­ing to the startup.

The test ve­hi­cle ac­cel­er­ated to a speed of 70 miles (112 kilo­me­ters) per hour dur­ing the test, and the com­pany’s next goal is to ramp the speed to 250 mph (400 kph), Hyperloop One said in a re­lease. “Hyperloop One has ac­com­plished what no one has done be­fore by suc­cess­fully test­ing the first full scale Hyperloop sys­tem,” said startup co-founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Shervin Pi­she­var.

“By achiev­ing full vac­uum, we essen­tially in­vented our own sky in a tube, as if you’re flying at 200,000 feet (60,000 me­ters) in the air.” Hyperloop One had orig­i­nally promised a fullscale demon­stra­tion by the end of 2016, af­ter a suc­cess­ful test of the propul­sion sys­tem. Sys­tems tested in May in­cluded the mo­tor, vac­uum pump­ing, mag­netic lev­i­ta­tion, and elec­tro­mag­netic brak­ing, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany. Hyperloop One also an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that it has built a pro­to­type pod de­signed to carry peo­ple or cargo through the sys­tems low-pres­sure tubes. Hyperloop One early this year dis­closed a list of lo­ca­tions around the world vy­ing to put near-su­per­sonic rail tran­sit sys­tem to the test. Vi­able submissions had to be con­doned by gov­ern­ment agen­cies that would likely be in­volved in reg­u­lat­ing and, ideally, fund­ing the fu­tur­is­tic rail. Hyperloop One wants to get three sys­tems un­der­way, chief ex­ec­u­tive Rob Lloyd told AFP at the time.

Hyperloop One, which has raised more than $160 mil­lion, was set on an idea laid out by bil­lion­aire Elon Musk, the en­tre­pre­neur be­hind elec­tric car com­pany Tesla and pri­vate space ex­plo­ration en­deavor SpaceX. Pods would rocket along rails through re­duced pres­sure tubes at speeds of 1,200 kilo­me­ters (750 miles) per hour. Hyperloop One says the sys­tem of­fers bet­ter safety than pas­sen­ger jets, lower build and main­te­nance costs than high­speed trains, and en­ergy us­age, per per­son, that is sim­i­lar to a bi­cy­cle.

Port colos­sus DP World Group of Dubai last year in­vested in the con­cept, join­ing back­ers in­clud­ing French na­tional rail com­pany SNCF, US in­dus­trial con­glom­er­ate Gen­eral Elec­tric and Rus­sian state fund RDIF. —AFP

Hyperloop One has pub­lished a fea­si­bilty study that aims to link Stock­holm in Swe­den and Helsinki.

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