A Brave New World of Transport
We are in a brave new world of transport revolution, the development of autonomous vehicles and flying cars as per Boeing’s latest release is only the beginning. A point to point transport system combining the convenience of trains and faster than a jet is also being developed called a hyperloop. The two companies leading this development race are Hyperloop transport technologies (HTT) and Virgin Hyperloop One, with a third player, Transpod progressing at a slower pace. Though these three tech companies are constantly having articles published about them their progress is hard to accurately predict.
The Hyperloop is a proposed transport system that uses a linear motor, much like the Japanese bullet train. Setting it apart from the bullet train however, the Hyperloop travels in a tube where a partial vacuum has been formed reducing friction from air. Because of this difference proponents of the hyperloop claim that it can reach an astronomical speed of up to 1200 km/h, although this is yet to be proven.
One competitor in this race are Hyperloop transport technologies (HTT) who have been getting closer to full scale testing and recently their new full scale prototype which will be used for testing arrived at their testing facility in Toulouse. The prototype has been designed by the industrial design firm, PriestmanGoode then produced in spain. The co-founder of HTT, Bibop Gresta claims that their 320m test track will be ready to start using passengers in testing this year.
Virgin Hyperloop One led by flamboyant billionaire, Richard branson are also forging ahead. After successful tests in the Nevada desert, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia had been in discussions to collaborate with Virgin Hyperloop One to build an intercity transit system between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It was proposed this system would cut the 2-hour trip between Dubai and Abu Dhabi down to just 12 minutes. Due to a recent political incident however, the deal with the kingdom looks to be dead in the
Closer to home there has been talk by Australian representatives of Virgin Hyperloop One and HTT, both competing to create a route along the east coast between Melbourne and Brisbane. The proposed route would be along the Second busiest air corridor in the world, cutting the travel between Melbourne and Sydney CBDs down to 55 minutes. The response from both sides of government however has been, at this stage, to entirely dismiss the pipe dream until the technology is further proven elsewhere.
The concepts and targets being pursued by these companies promise an exciting new revolution to transport. This is coupled with inspired industrial design, including talk of potential future installations here in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The path ahead however still appears to be long for both the technology and its infrastructure. Hopefully we will indeed witness and enjoy the benefits of its success.
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