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With the promises of economically transporting people and goods between cities at super-high speeds, Hyperloop transportation sounds too good to be true, but it certainly becoming true and heading toward becoming the transportation mode of the future.

What is Hyperloop Technology?

Hyperloop is a novel ground transport method that envisions passengers and cargo traveling in floating pods inside low-pressure tubes, above or below ground, at a speed exceeding 700 miles per hour.

The concept that makes this transportation so ground-breaking lies in vacuum transportation; the pods carrying passengers travel through tubes or tunnels from which most of the air has been removed to reduce friction, which allows the pods to travel at unprecedented speed.

Also, the pods are designed to float on air skis using the same basic idea as an air hockey table, or use magnetic levitation to reduce friction.

“It isn’t, in terms of technology, a new concept, because the concept of vacuum transportation’s been around for quite some time,” explains Chris Dulake, global railways and transit leader at consultancy Mott MacDonald, a company that’s worked on the London Underground and Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.

He points to the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a pioneering British engineer who experimented with using compressed air to transport carriages in the late 1800s, CNN reported.

Over a century later, entrepreneur Elon Musk who is revolutionizing transportation both on Earth and in space, through electric car maker Tesla and rocket producer SpaceX, brought the futuristic concept of Hyperloops to the light again in 2013, describing the technology as “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table.”

“It would be great to have an alternative to flying or driving, but obviously only if it is actually better than flying or driving,” wrote Musk in a “Hyperloop Alpha” paper, explaining how a modern system would work and at what cost.

Musk described hyperloop transit as safer, faster, lower cost, more convenient, immune to weather, sustainable and self-powering, resistant to earthquakes, and not disruptive.

Current State

The development of hyperloop technologies is being driven by the likes of Musk and transportation tech companies such as Virgin Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportations Technologies.

“We’re talking years, not decades,” Ryan Kelly, spokesman for Virgin Hyperloop One said to CNBC.

Although there are no commercial systems that the public can ride yet, according to Virgin Hyperloop’s VP of Marketing Ryan Kelly, Hyperloop One is expected to be fully operational by 2030 with certification in the next few years, Forbes wrote.

According to Forbes, the company has projects in Mumbai, Dubai, and across America, with headquarters in Los Angeles and a test track in Las Vegas. Its competitors include Hyperloop TT, DGWHyperloop, rloop, TransPod, and The Boring Company, all racing to build the world’s first hyperloop.

Recently, the Hyperloop Language passed the US House of Representatives, as part of the Moving Forward Act, with multiple provisions moving the hyperloop industry forward at a rapid pace within the United States.

“We applaud hyperloop’s bipartisan supporters for their forward-leaning stance on advanced technologies, including several innovative provisions that will support America’s transportation sector in the 21st century and beyond,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group.

DP World, the Dubai-based provider of worldwide smart end-to-end supply chain logistics and the largest investor in Virgin Hyperloop, also lauded the recent decision by the US House of Representatives as the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council is expected to issue guidance within the next six months to help set out a clear regulatory framework for the industry, Gulf News reported.

While there are still many regulatory, technological, and economic challenged to overcome, hyperloop once commercialized is poised to change the travel industry.

“My sense is that hyperloop will absolutely happen,” said Devin Liddell, principal futurist at Seattle-based design company Teague. “Think about the emerging traffic problems in some of the biggest U.S. cities. Yuck. We need a new system like a hyperloop because our present systems are terrible. This is a better solution.”

“Hyperloop also takes some of the great things of rail, such as getting us close to city centers, but adds the advantage of the speed of air travel,” said Teague’s Liddell.

When cities are linked by hyperloop it may also change when and why people travel, CNBC wrote.

People could more easily work in one city but live in another. Or visit another city for dinner, a movie, a sports game a museum or a show.


​What is Hyperloop? Everything you need to know about the race for super-fast travel

How long until Hyperloop is here?

A hyperloop may change how and why we travel

Hyperloop Language Passes in House as Part of Moving Forward Act

UAE Hyperloop now a step closer to reality after US Congress ruling

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