Hyperloop: Propelling us to the Future at the Speed of Sound

Engineers from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in Holland, recently won second place at the Hyperloop Design Competition. The Delft Hyperloop team will present a working prototype later this year, one of many steps creating the next generation of transportation.

Hyperloop pod design

Hyperloop pod design

After winning first place in the Pod Design category and second overall, Delft Hyperloop started developing a half-scaled prototype which they will race against other contenders on a 1.6 km track in the Nevada desert.

What is Hyperloop One?

Hyperloop One is the brainchild of Elon Musk and his group of engineers from Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Their vision was to create a transportation system which would enable people to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 35 minutes over land. How? By shooting a pod through a vacuum tube at 1,200 kilometers per hour.

The Hyperloop One team launched its first test recently near Las Vegas. The custom-designed linear electric motor reached speeds of 540 km/hour, accelerating from zero to 160 km/hour in 1 second!

The organization plans a full-scale test, on a 3.2 kilometer track reaching speeds of over 1,200 km/hour, by the end of this year.

Advantages of Hyperloop transport system

According to Delft Hyperloop member, Tim Houter, the system has its advantages, ‘Current transportation systems displace air continuously, using a lot of energy. Hyperloop’s tube barely creates air resistance, resulting in energy savings. Making the Hyperloop an efficient way of transportation.’ Houter continues, ‘This also saves maintenance expenses, because the lack of friction between the pod and the tube means there will be no wear and tear.’

The Netherlands is not the ideal place to build a hyperloop system due to the close proximity of the cities. However, the country is perfect to create a five kilometer test track and further improving the system. When further developed, the technique can be sold to countries which have a suitable environment to build a hyperloop infrastructure like Australia or China.

The hyperloop system will only be efficient when the distance is at least 100 kilometers. Within city-limits, self-driving cars are more practical.

When fully developed, Hyperloop will start off transporting cargo first. Passenger-transportation will happen in the near future.