The concept of a bullet train in the Golden State of California has been in the works for years now. Scientists and engineers alike envisioned a futuristic mode of transportation utilizing cutting edge technology to revolutionize the traveling process. When we say “revolutionize,” we mean from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles in less than an hour type of revolution. This may be hard for you to wrap your mind around and believe us, you’re not the only one that feels a little overwhelmed. Nevertheless, the brilliant innovation of today’s transit industry is setting the stage for well…can somebody say “warp speed?”
On May 11th Hyperloop One, formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies, demonstrated its early prototype a mere 30 miles from the Las Vegas strip. The propulsion system that can transport freight and people at the speed of sound was publicly tested in front of an audience of over 100 eager journalists, guests and investors. The centipede-like sled launched across a track stretching 300 meters and hit 60 mph in a sheer 1.1 seconds. By the time it came to a complete stop spewing up a cloud of sand from the ground around it, cheers erupted from the team of engineers matched with a round of applause from onlookers. And this was just the beginning. The final version of its propulsion open air pods (POAP) will levitate through specialized tubes using magnetic force at speeds reaching 750 mph. Hyperloop One recently received another $80 million from investors such as GE Ventures, French National Rail Company, SNCF and Khosla Ventures.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, publicly announced that he would be funding a $6 billion project to create his own hyperloop technology in February of 2013. Collaborating with AECOM, a specialized provider of advanced architecture and infrastructure, SpaceX is contending with some of the most creative minds of this century to build top of the line hyperloop pod designs. In order to speed up the process, Musk asked the public to offer their input resulting in one of the most popular open-sourced design initiatives in history. In January of this year, SpaceX hosted a hyperloop pod design competition at Texas A&M University where thousands of scholars and aspiring innovators contributed their exclusive blueprints. 100 teams of students from around the world went head to head in an epic dual of design novelty. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) received the 1st round pick for best overall design and build. Special guest presentations from speakers such as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Engineering Strategic Initiatives, John Barton, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, struck cords of passion for the young contestants and media outlets quickly capitalized on the event. With the first phase of the competition a success, MIT students are now seeking to expand on its ideas trying out aluminum, carbon fiber, intricate braking systems and powerful magnets in order to reach an ideal 100 meters per second. The new design must be completed by the middle of this month.
The demand for more efficient means of transportation continues to accelerate figuratively and quite literally. Hyperloop One displayed a sneak peak of its first ever POAPs last Wednesday granting the city of sin an unforgettable experience. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a design competition at Texas A&M University awarding the 1st round prize to a team of MIT students. Although its development is far from over, it’s clear to see that all parties involved will be forced to stay on track.