Technology 5 min read

Ultra-fast Hyperloop Transit Coming Soon: the Future is Here



On Thursday, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX among others, announced to the public that he already acquired ‘verbal approval’ from the government to build a multi-state underground Hyperloop transit system.

The alleged Hyperloop transit project would be run by Musk through his tunneling venture, The Boring Company, and it will connect major U.S. cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC.

The Tesla executive did not divulge any other detail about the ‘approved’ Hyperloop project except that it will have several city stops “with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each.” 

Musk’s pronouncements caused a stir among various government agencies. According to The Guardian, several spokespersons from different states and federal government bodies laughed upon hearing the claim.

#ElonMusk is all set to make #Hyperloop transit system a reality.Click To Tweet

“Elon Musk has had no contact with Philadelphia officials on this matter,” Mike Dunn, a city spokesman said. He further added:

“We do not know what he means when he says he received ‘verbal government approval.’ There are numerous hurdles for this unproven ‘Hyperloop’ technology before it can become a reality.”

Another spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation was quoted as saying:

“Who gave him permission to do that?”

Over an hour after Musk made his initial tweet, he tried to retract his claims by tweeting: “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly.”

The tech mogul’s announcement received different reactions from people that he gladly addressed through his Twitter account.

Musk also encouraged everyone to let their local and federal representatives know about his project to expedite the process.

“If you want this to happen fast, please let your local & federal elected representatives know. Makes a big difference if they hear from you,” one of Musk’s tweets read.

The Hyperloop Concept

Musk is considered one of the most aggressive technology innovators today. His business ventures span across different fields such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, and transportation.

In 2013, Musk published the Hyperloop Alpha concept. According to Musk, the innovation will cut the travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles to 35 minutes at a price of $20 for a one-way trip. He also added that the experience would feel like being on an airplane.

In a separate blog post, Musk said that he came up with the concept of Hyperloop out of his frustrations with the $68 billion USD California high-speed rail project. A part of the blog post read:

“When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?”

How Hyperloop Works

Hyperloop makes use of low-pressure steel tubes where passenger capsules would travel through. According to the initial concept, the capsules or pods can zoom at high subsonic speeds that can reach up to 760 mph.

Elon Musk's original Hyperloop conceptual design
Elon Musk’s original Hyperloop conceptual design

The pods would be powered by magnetic linear accelerators that will be given periodic boosts by a built-in linear induction motor attached to the tube and pods.

Hyperloop passenger capsule version cutaway with passengers on-board
Hyperloop passenger capsule version cutaway with passengers onboard

According to Musk, the journey would be frictionless due to a cushion of compressed air between the cars and the tube’s inner surface. Aside from that, the Hyperloop will be powered by solar panels that will enable it to generate more than enough energy for it to operate.

Hyperloop Development

Musk’s Hyperloop concept was adopted by several companies such as Hyperloop One. On May 12th of this year, the said company which was founded by Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar conducted its very first full-scale Hyperloop test. The test was run at DevLoop, the Hyperloop test track built by the company in the Nevada Desert.

During the test, the Hyperloop prototype was able to coast above the first portion of the track for 5.3 seconds using magnetic levitation. It also reached almost 2Gs of acceleration and achieved the Phase 1 target speed of 70mph.

Aside from that, Hyperloop One also unveiled their first passenger capsule or pod prototype dubbed as XP-1. The pod is 28 feet in length and made of structural aluminum.

Hyperloop One's pod prototype XP-1
Hyperloop One’s pod prototype XP-1 | Hyperloop One

As of now, Hyperloop One is developing Hyperloop system routes in the United States, Finland, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates, with a goal of delivering a fully operational system by 2021.

Do you agree with Elon Musk’s plan of building an underground Hyperloop transit system? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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