Will Hyperloop solve the biggest problem of transport in future?
“Travelling in a pod propelled through a vacuum tube.”
If this does not trigger your immobile adrenaline system into a frantic rush similar to that triggered by cliff or skydiving, then this is in no way normal.
CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk although having no particular political inclination to either the Democrats or Republicans is entirely devoted to cutting edge ideas in technology. Other than Space X and Tesla he is also the founder of Zip2, Neuralink and OpenAI. As of May 2017, he has an estimated net worth of $15.2 billion, making him the 80th-wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
What is Hyperloop Technology?
“Hyperloop is a new way to move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It’s on-demand, energy-efficient and safe. Think broadband for transportation”
Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle through a reduced-pressure tube that could potentially exceed airliner speeds. The pods would accelerate to cruising speed gradually using a linear electric motor and glide above their track using passive magnetic levitation or air bearings. The tubes could also go above ground on columns or underground, eliminating the dangers of grade crossings. It is hoped that the system will be highly energy-efficient, quiet, and autonomous.
Will Hyperloop solve the biggest problem of transport?
Traffic is the biggest problem faced by most of the developed economies in the world. With the increase in a number of vehicles, the traffic woe is getting out of hand. High-speed trains are considered as the best solution for the problem, but it is very expensive. Hyperloop is the next alternative which is similar to high-speed trains but works on different technology and cost less also.
How does Hyperloop Technology work?
Musk, the visionary behind the Hyperloop concept is, without a doubt, hailed to have a different can-do spirit but for this technology to realize it will take a complete transport infrastructure turnover.
Reduced pressure tubes which will have highly pressurized pods or capsules running on air cushions will not only provide a cheap transport but will also be the quickest. Running with the aid of linear compression motors and air compressors. The partial vacuum would help minimize the air drag thereby increasing energy efficiency. Removing almost all friction from the technology means the Hyperloop speed could reportedly carry passengers at 760 mph – within 10mph of the speed of sound – with unmanned pods able to top 800 mph. This extraordinary top speed means the Hyperloop could ferry passengers between London and Edinburgh in less than 30 minutes, a journey that currently takes over four hours by train. The 400-mile trip between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the California coastline would take a similar time.
These pods would be used to transport both human passengers and freight. At the speculative cost of $60 billion between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a mile long track will be covered in 35 minutes. Arriving early at work sounds promising but so does the aspect of having to pay fewer travel costs and living in a healthy green environment with no carbon emissions.
When we think of how the world shapes up to be in five decades or even a century, we visualize hover cars, space travel and such energy efficient vacuum pods both as carrier lifts in a building and a substitute to underground rail tubes. However, we fail to visualize what comes of the green environment? What comes to our greenhouse effect? How do we come up with the electricity and energy efficiency to power all these works of science fiction technology?
Benefits of Hyperloop Technology
The benefits of a Hyperloop pod will be quick transport. A complete turnover of our transportation infrastructure, minimum cars on the road would mean minimum carbon emissions and thereby a rapid decline in the greenhouse effect and Global Warming. If it realizes it would mean that we can harness enough electricity on sustainable standards. Hyperloop technology will outpace the maglev trains, conventional rail trains, and airplanes firstly because of cutting-edge sleek design and minimum time delay. It will be the fastest commute possible. Running wholly or partially on electricity it will leave minimum or no carbon footprints at all. Airplanes require gallons of fuel and coal powered trains add to the carbon content. Maglev trains have been considered energy inefficient. For a technological innovation to be regarded as successful a multi-tiered analysis is a requisite.
Read Also: Future of Transport: Driverless Car
Is Hyperloop technology a near reality?
The common argument surrounding this technology is that this is not it is only a long shot with a globally rampant energy crisis, but it is in no way helping a green transport, the complexities to overcome in its wake are far too enormous. An in-depth review brings us to the following conclusions; there are chances of leftover carbon footprints, so the environment says no. In a case of a minor or major glitch, all passengers kick the bucket. Hence safety is a big question as is the pliability of the tube which is not only supposed to be thin and long but should also be resilient to vibrations produced by a 15-ton capsule with 800 passengers moving through it at the speed of sound. Such speeds, an all metal body and vacuum is bound to generate excessive heat as per our fundamental laws of entropy and thermodynamics, so the integrity of tracks votes against it as well.
This brings us to the question: is our radical imagination ready to tackle the reality? Or is it merely relying on the eccentricity of science fiction Utopia rather than practicality to make its mark?
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