Innovative construction projects from around the world – The Hyperloop

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Understanding the Hyperloop

Looking back at the transport industry, it difficult to help but marvel at the brilliant inventions in the industry that have changed the world. Since the invention of the wheel, the industry has never looked back, with each invention speeding up travel, from the Stephenson’s Rocket to the Japanese Bullet train. The industry has done it yet again with the development of the Hyperloop, which promises to define the present and future of transportation. A Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system developed by a transport entrepreneur Elon Musk, which involves reduced pressure tubes in which the pressurized capsules travel on an air cushion by air compressors and induction motors.

The technology behind the Hyperloop

According to Yahoo tech news, the Hyperloop will connect people cut a six-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to just 30 minutes. Elon, the idea proprietor, indicates that the Hyperloop will be three times faster than the fastest bullet train on the planet. Also known as the fifth form of transportation, the Hyperloop is designed to carry individuals over long distances inside pods moving through large tubes which have their pressure reduced to almost vacuum. In essence, large air inlets on the front side of the pods will pull air and push it underneath them which create cushions of air for the pods to float on. The Hyperloop avoids friction and resistance caused by wheels by riding on air which makes it more aerodynamic. The systems tubes are suspended above the ground by pylons which are parts of a self-sustaining setup.

Is Hyperloop the future of transportation?

When Musk revealed the Hyperloop idea in 2013 with a 57 page concept paper, it was met with equal shares of endorsements and criticism. Forbes technology author Bruce Upbin points out that the idea was quickly thought by some as a science fiction innovation. Today, the idea is slowly becoming a reality. However, it is difficult to overstate this innovation as the ultimate future of transport. Why so? There are various logistical and engineering challenges, for example, earthquake proofing, saftey and security that require solving.

On the flipside, the Hyperloop could drastically change the world as the fifth form of transport just as the first four modes; boats, trains, vehicles, and planes brought massive change. The Hyperloop will also overs a transition from pollution, congestion, death and delay caused by the first four modes of transport. Tentatively speaking, if the proprietors can solve the challenges associated with this form of transport, then it is safe to say that the future is bright.

Construction efforts and progress

In August 2013, Dirk Ahlborn started a crowdsourcing platform made up of 100 engineers, developers and scientist that were interested in the idea. They decided to adopt the Hyperloop as their initial project. 90 days later the team had successfully incorporated Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and released an initial tubes design in 2014. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies then acquired a 5-mile land stretch in California where they are to build the Hyperloop. Currently, Hyperloop Technologies is building a 2-mile test track in the Nevada desert with an 11-foot-diameter tube.

Doubts about the Hyperloop

Despite the commendable progress mad to ensure the technology sees the light of day there are also some doubts which have accompanied the development of this technology. One of them is the budget; Musk’s original estimate of construction cost from San Francisco to Los Angeles was $6Billion however the actual cost could be as high as $16Biillion. Secondly just like other transport modes the Hyperloop has security challenges and could be a target for terrorists.

We can’t deny that the Hyperloop will be a brilliant solution to transportation however it requires careful development to transport people and freight.

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