In 2012, the guy that brought us the Tesla electric car (Elon Musk) announced he was thinking about creating the 5th mode of transport dubbed Hyperloop.
The difference between his mode of transportation and those that were already in use was the fact that his idea meant speeds that were currently out of reach for trains and cars would finally be achievable and sustainable. It would also be more energy efficient and kinder to the environment.
So what is this Hyperloop? I hear you ask, well it’s based on the same principles you might already be familiar with if you’ve ever played air hockey. The Hyperloop is fundamentally a train like a shuttle that floats on a bed of air inside a tube. The trains are pod shaped and cylindrical with a turbine-like propeller on the nose end, the turbine is used to transfer air from the front of the pod to the rear of the pod and allow the pod to be propelled along at speeds comparable to the speed of sound!
The tubes that carry these pods will be above ground and big enough to give minimal clearance around the circumference of the pods inside.
All this may sound and look very similar to fictional modes of transport seen in futuristic based television shows such as Futurama or even the way money is transferred in supermarkets from the tills, but this Hyperloop technology may be the real future mode of transport that benefits the earth and passengers at the same time.
Elon Musk decided he wouldn’t pursue the Hyperloop endeavour himself but instead funded the early development and went on to open source the project so that any promising student or company with enough interest could build upon his original idea and bring the Hyperloop to reality.
Fast forward from 2012 to 2016 and there are now a few large companies working on this project, and there are already plans in place for test tracks to be built at various locations in the American deserts. They’re even competitions for pod designs to be developed and used in initial trials before the end of 2016.
The future of transport is closer than we think and the benefits of high-speed travel could make long distance journeys a breeze. From a pipe dream to almost reality in just four years, the Hyperloop is one to keep an eye on and look forward too.