Los-Angeles based HyperloopTT led designs for the first-ever completed full-scale commercial system. With Elon Musk’s concept for a 5th mode of transport gaining momentum, are we a step closer to the future of transport?
What is HyperloopTT?
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is an American research company with more than 800 engineers and professionals located around the world. The company is working closely with the United States, United Arab Emirates and France. It is currently building a test track outside the town of Toulouse, home to the European Multinational Aerospace corporation Airbus.
It is one of several companies trying to develop a full-scale hyperloop system, along with Virgin Hyperloop, Transpod and TUM Hyperloop to name a few.
If you don’t already know what the hyperloop is, it is a proposed 5th mode of transport, touted as the fastest way to cross the surface of the Earth. Pods would travel in a low-pressure environment within a tube, along with also using magnetic levitation to reduce resistance.
It’s cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey tableElon Musk – CEO of Tesla and SpaceX
HyperloopTT System Design
The full-scale commercial system was designed in collaboration with Dar’s team, along with sister firms Perkins+Will, T.Y.Lin, and Currie & Brown. And, with sustainability at its core, HyperloopTT systems use renewable energy and are highly efficient. Moreover, these systems could potentially generate more power than they consume.
The commercial system features an in-line station for hyperloop travellers. It will function as an on-demand high-speed waypoint for regional connectivity and facilitates high passenger traffic volumes.
This means that the system will create a highly-efficient transportation that expands local, national, and continental economies.
“We have pioneered a technology that is faster, safer, and far cleaner than existing modes of transportation by design. Because hyperloop uses less energy than alternatives, we are a smarter economic solution for many regions worldwide”Andres De Leon, CEO of HyperloopTT
HyperloopTT’s system and mainline structures are covered with optimised solar panels that move with the sun to harness clean energy. Also, the company also mentions that the station’s energy system integrates into that of the transportation infrastructure. This allows for HyperloopTT’s energy collection, storage, and transfer system to send and receive energy flexibly across large distances.
Are We Closer to a Hyperloop System?
Indeed, the Hyperloop has come a long way since Elon Musk mentioned the concept in 2012 at a PandoDaily event in Santa Monica, California.
Since 2015, SpaceX has sponsored the yearly Hyperloop Pod Competition, allowing student and non-student teams to participate, design and for some, build a subscale prototype transport vehicle. Meanwhile, several companies and student teams have made huge leaps towards the Hyperloop becoming a reality.
For instance, in November 2020, Virgin Hyperloop completed the first-ever human passenger Hyperloop test. The test was completed with the newly-unveiled XP-2 vehicle, which was custom-built with occupant safety and comfort in mind. While the production vehicle will be larger and seat up to 28 passengers, this 2-seater XP-2 vehicle demonstrated that passengers can in fact safely travel in a hyperloop vehicle.
And as I mentioned in a previous article on Virgin Hyperloop’s passenger test, this will undoubtedly encourage others working on a Hyperloop to continue innovating, which HyperloopTT clearly has done.
All these companies are actively working with governments around the world to bring Hyperloop systems to fruition. So, we may not need to wait too long before we’re able to travel at the speed of sound, across the surface of the earth!
For more on the Hyperloop, check out this article, or listen to Episode 2 of The Detechtor Podcast, where I cover everything you need to know. You can also read my article on Virgin Hyperloop’s passenger test here.