Even if the dreams of the hyperloop don’t come to pass, the effort could yield technologies that improve other kinds of transport.
The promise of hyperloop ranks near the top of the spectacular index: a network of tubes that will shoot people and their things from city to city at near supersonic speeds. But even if you never clamber into a levitating pod, the work being done now to make hyperloop a reality could make your future journeys—whether by plane, train, or automobile—faster, comfier, and cooler.The hyperloop industry—if you can call a handful of VC-backed outfits an industry—got going in 2013, after Elon Musk published a white paper on his idea of tubular travel and said he was too busy to work on it. (The Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO changed his mind this year, and is now working on his own system.)

The essentials are simple: A bus-sized levitating pod would be propelled down a nearly airless tube. Zooming along at hundreds of miles an hour thanks to the lack of friction and air resistance, it could get riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour. And while the physics are sound, building and operating a functioning hyperloop is a harrowing task.

Anyone who nails down the engineering then has to take on tasks like building infrastructure on a massive scale, which means wrangling with regulators and local politics. If they can do that, they then get to figure out how to make money in a market dominated by seasoned, streamlined competitors like airlines.

So, yeah, don’t count on hopping into one of those tubes anytime soon. The good news is that, even if hyperloop never takes over, the engineering work going on now could produce tools and techniques to improve existing industries. Much like NASA’s Apollo missions led to cordless drills, firefighting equipment, and supercomputers, hyperloop has the potential to spur significant transportation innovation if research continues at its current pace. In fact, that crossover has already begun.

“There’s a lot of different areas where the technologies we’re developing can be used,” says Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which has plans to bring the tubes to India, Central Europe, and the Middle East.

Take, for example, magnetic levitation trains. The friction-free tech has been slow to take off as an alternative to trains with wheels because of the high sticker price, specialized track requirements, and maintenance cost. Ahlborn thinks a proliferation of interest in this space could change the calculus.

“Never before has there been so much research done on levitation,” he says. “Before it was limited to two or three companies.”

Just look at the work done by Badgerloop, a student-run hyperloop team out of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The group’s maglev design uses Halbach arrays in a novel fashion, says technical director Justin Williams, allowing for passive movement, as opposed to superconducting magnets that require a flow of electricity to work. It could significantly reduce the amount of energy required to propel a levitating train. The team won an innovation award at Elon Musk’s hyperloop competition in January.

 “We’ve been talking to a lot of different train companies about how we could make their systems better with our tech,” Williams says. “This would reduce the weight of the vehicle, which could mean less friction.” And that might be enough to get more players into the maglev train game, even if they don’t include the vacuum tube, for extra speed.

Hyperloop-related innovations could also help make the journeys of the future a little more comfortable. Since hyperloop travel happens inside a windowless, potentially claustrophobia-inducing tube, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is working on “windows” that show riders a beautiful, but fake, view. It would use eye-tracking technology to mimic the experience of actually looking outside a window. Ahlborn says he’s negotiating with train companies to add those windows to their rolling stock to enhance their passengers’ view or add a computerized augmented reality layer to actual views.

The rise of driverless cars could present another avenue for this tech. Riders might prefer looking at Machu Picchu or the Mississippi River to the surrounding asphalt. “Imagine looking outside of a window and you see Spider-man jumping around outside,” Ahlborn says, offering a novel way to promote an upcoming movie. “The same technology then can be used in trains, in cars, and there we’re already partnering with several companies to make that happen,” he says. “It’s actually one of our major strategies.”

The hyperloop pipe dream might improve safety too. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is developing a sensor-embedded carbon fiber structure for its pods, which it calls “Vibranium.” Named for the material found in Black Panther’s suit and Captain America’s shield, this stuff can provide real-time data about the pod’s temperature, structural integrity, and other metrics. It’s easy to imagine applications for cars and planes: Carbon fiber is already light and strong—if it generates data, even better.

Most exciting of all, perhaps, is hyperloop’s potential to bring space closer to Earth. The challenges of flying through a tube will feel familiar to rocket scientists. “It’s high-speed, high-vibration in near vacuum and even vacuum,” says Patryk Radyjowski, who studies mechanical engineering at the University of Texas–Austin and advises Guadaloop, a student-run hyperloop team. “All of these things are very similar to a rocket launch.”

Finding better ways to cool down electronics in a vacuum could someday help NASA or private space companies operate long flights, Radyjowski hypothesizes. And with augmented windows, space travelers could have a smoother, or at least a more comforting, ride. There’s even an argument to be made that hyperloop makes more sense for moving around on Mars or the Moon, where you don’t have preexisting roads—an argument Musk himself has made.

Perhaps that’s one reason Richard Branson just joined forces with one of the companies leading the charge into the tube. The man behind Virgin Galactic is now the chairman of the newly renamed Virgin Hyperloop One. Hyperloop might just be one more adventure for Branson, but it could also be a way to advance his otherworldly ambitions. And that’s potentially good news for the rest of us—even if we never get that 30-minute ride down the California coast.


IF YOU’VE BEEN dying to know what it’s like to ride in a hyperloop at hundreds of miles per hour, read this…

Last week, Virgin Hyperloop One, one of the leading companies in the budding industry dedicated to realizing Elon Musk’s vision of flinging people and stuff through tubes in a near-vacuum and at borderline supersonic speeds, set a new speed record: 240 miles per hour.

At its DevLoop track in the Nevada desert, north of Las Vegas, the company’s engineers loaded their 28-foot-long pod into a 1,600-foot-long concrete test tube. The newly developed airlock system maintained the nearly airless environment, which approximated the air pressure you get at 200,000 feet above sea level (the thinner the air, the less resistance to overcome). Thanks to magnetic levitation, the pod hovered above the test track, knocking off another key source of friction—the deadliest enemy of futuristic, high-speed travel.

And then, whoosh.

Within a few seconds, the pod had hit top speed, beating the existing (publicly known) hyperloop speed record, set by Elon Musk this summer at 220 mph. To cap off the good news, the company also announced that Richard Branson is coming aboard as chairman and that it just raised $50 million. (A badly needed cash infusion, according to Axios.) Shervin Pishevar, the company’s co-founder and co-executive chairman, has temporarily left amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.

Of course, a whole lot of work remains to be done before you get to climb into the tube along with the pod, and then there’s no guarantee hyperloop will work on an economic level. But those are concerns for the future—a future that just got a little bit closer.

Hyperloop One Passes Second Full System Test — Faster Than Ever Before


Hyperloop One has just put its tech through another test, which it passed with flying colors by going 308 km/h (192 mph) — faster than ever before. So, how long until we see the technology implemented, and what challenges will it have to overcome to get to this stage?

Hyperloop One tests are growing ever more impressive, reaching faster speeds and, in the process, showing us what the technology is really capable of. During the latest evaluation, on Saturday, the pod reached speeds of 308 km/h (192 mph) down the company’s 500-meter (1,640-foot) test track in Nevada, before gliding to a graceful halt.

This is a remarkable improvement on the company’s first full system test earlier this summer. During this outing, it traveled farther by a factor of 4.5 times, reached speeds 2.7 times faster, and achieved 3.5 times the horsepower.

 Shervin PishevarHyperloop One co-founder, told CNBC, “We’ve got the Hyperloop working. It’s the dawn now […] of the commercialization of the hyperloops. We’ve got conversations and dialogues with governments around the world.”

Pishevar was referring to the worldwide travel he has been undertaking recently. The company is currently looking at various cities in the U.S. to build a loop and is also planning on installing the system in Europe. In fact, Hyperloop One is already undertaking feasibility studies in Finland, Moscow, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.K.

Despite these successes, there are still hurdles that need to be overcome before we see the transportation system of the future. Most prominently, it will need to achieve the right-of-way allowances, land acquisitions, and regulatory approvals that other means of transportation like the railway enjoy.

However, this announcement gives us a reassuring reminder that the future of transport isn’t far away.

This Hyperloop Lawsuit Is Insane


THE LIKELIHOOD THAT you will someday zoom across the country at supersonic speeds through a tube just got a lot smaller.

The leaders of Hyperloop One, the leading effort to take the transportation system from Elon Musk-powered fantasy to reality, have embraced a Silicon Valley cliche: They’re suing each other. And the details involve a suspiciously overpaid fiancée, an attempted coup, and a noose.

Co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan has resigned and filed a lawsuit accusing the company and his co-founder Shervin Pishevar of breach of fiduciary duty, violating labor laws, wrongful termination, breach of contract, defamation, infliction of emotional distress, and assault. It’s a serious blow that could scare away crucial investors and make the company’s goal—revolutionizing transportation—even harder.

Hyperloop, while theoretical, is no sci-fi pipe dream. The engineering is fundamentally sound. “The question is, can it compete from a capital standpoint and an operating standpoint and a safety standpoint,” said David Clarke, director of the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee, back in May.

In other words, can Hyperloop win customers away from existing transportation methods? Doing that requires things like raising the billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure demands, addressing safety concerns, and bringing in paying customers at competitive ticket prices. Try doing all that in the midst of a corporate civil war.

And this particular civil war is going to be messy. BamBrogan and colleagues Knut Sauer, David Pendergast, and William Mulholland say the company leaders “established an autocratic governance culture rife with nepotism, and wasted the company’s precious cash.” In the lawsuit, which names Shervin Pishevar, Afshin Pishevar, board member Joseph Lonsdale, and CEO Rob Lloyd as defendents, they allege that Shervin Pishevar paid his fiancée $40,000 a month for public relations work and hired his brother Afshin as the company’s general counsel. He allegedly told senior engineers to stop work to give office tours for various guests—including a nightclub doorman—and manipulated stock options to take advantage of employees.


According to the lawsuit, after the plaintiffs and seven other employees complained about the “misuse of company resources and corporate waste” in a letter, Afshin Pishevar left a hangman’s noose on BamBrogan’s desk. The filing includes a security camera image of a man, apparently Pishevar, holding rope and walking through the office.

Later that day, the suit alleges, Hyperloop One fired Pendergast (in front of his wife and children), demoted Sauer (who then resigned), and demanded BamBrogan take a leave of absence.

BamBrogan, who designed rocket engines and space capsule heat shields at SpaceX before helping found the company, resigned “under the threat of physical violence and demotion.” Mulholland resigned as well.

The lawsuit against Hyperloop One includes a security camera image of a man, apparently Afshin Pishevar, holding rope and walking through the office. BamBrogan allegedly found a noose on his desk after complaining about company operations.

Hyperloop One has returned fire. In a statement, Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn, the company’s lawyer, called the lawsuit “unfortunate and delusional,” said the plaintiffs “tried to stage a coup and failed,” and promised “a swift and potent legal response.” (Returning that return fire, the plaintiff’s attorney, Justin Berger, called that statement “long on rhetoric and short on facts.”)

But nevermind the lawyer-said/lawyer-said. Whatever the outcome of the suit, it’s bad news for the Hyperloop—and not just because the company lost BamBrogan, a convincing salesman and talented engineer.

“This looks like a company that is in trouble,” says Martin Kenney, who edited the 2000 book Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region. A bitter fight between co-founders is not in itself an omen of failure: Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft all saw massive success after early leaders moved on. Tesla Motors only took off after Elon Musk wrested control away from founder Martin Eberhard.

But this is a particularly weird case, with its accusations of overpaid paramours and threats of violence. “You can probably guess that there are pretty serious problems,” Kenney says. That’s especially problematic because building a profitable Hyperloop will demand a massive upfront investment: CEO Lloyd has offered a likely optimistic estimate of $10 million per mile of two-way track.

Hyperloop One raised $80 million in Series B funding in May. But now, investors don’t just have to consider the difficulty of making money off a privately funded, unproven way to fling people around the country. They have to worry about whether the company will spend their money

This Hyperloop firm has yet to attempt a test run – but it’s already working on the app

Its rival, Hyperloop One, may have stolen a march in testing, but Hyperloop Transportation Technologies’ preparations for high-speed travel include advanced consumer software.

A depiction of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies’ supersonic travel system.

In a 2013 proposal, Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk outlined a Hyperloop transport system that would cut the journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco to 35 minutes.

Transport pods would carry passengers or vehicles through low-pressure tubes at speeds of up to 760mph, or 1,220kph, with Musk envisaging “air bearings” to keep the pods suspended at high speeds, and deployable wheels for low speeds.

Private companies are now working on bringing the Hyperloop concept to market, and Musk started an ongoing Hyperloop design competition last year.

But Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of two private companies working to bring the Hyperloop concept to reality, has also decided to allocate resources to developing consumer travel software, even though it has yet to execute a successful testrun of its Hyperloop system.

Elon Musk's Hyperloop: Here's the Dutch team with designs on supersonic train concept

Engineers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands are taking tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Hyperloop travel idea very seriously.

The Hyperloop Passenger App, the working title of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies’ software platform, will form the backbone of a suite of travel applications in a forthcoming Hyperloop Marketplace.

This marketplace will comprise a collection of local and international travel-service applications, such as on-demand car services and airline companies, which will be packaged in Docker containers.

“What we’re building is the infrastructure, where you’ll be able to say, ‘I want to go here’. And then it’s connected to the vault of providers,” Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn told an audience at last month’s Amsterdam Next Web Conference Europe.

He says passengers will be able to easily install and deploy these Dockerized apps, which contain all the code needed to run themselves regardless of the operating environment, into the main passenger app.

There is no release date yet for the Hyperloop Passenger App, but the company says when it does launch, in-app advertising will provide it and the marketplace’s participants with a revenue stream.

While other travel applications exist, such as Hipmunk and Kayak, the Hyperloop Marketplace app will be a high-bandwidth computing application that will be able to receive and process millions of events per second, according to Ahlborn. He sees it as a way to enhance the entire consumer travel experience.

Despite its ambitions to reinvent the consumer travel service industry, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies appears to be making slower progress on its Hyperloop design than its main competitor, Hyperloop One.

While Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to build a full-scale Hyperloop test track in California’s Quay Valley, with construction starting later this year, Hyperloop One already held a public testrun of its Hyperloop system in Nevada in May.

Nevertheless, Ahlborn insists his company is not on the losing team. He founded Hyperloop Transportation Technologies in 2014 when around 100 early contributors completed a Hyperloop feasibility study, each working a minimum of 10 hours per week in exchange for stock options. Today, more than 520 people and 40 companies contribute to Ahlborn’s company.

Russia taps Hyperloop for domestic transport

A proposed project to bring Musk’s Hyperloop to Russia would cost between $12 and $13 billion.

“Those are not just guys working in a checkroom. They’re people working at Apple, NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, dedicating their time to making this happen,” he says.

Still, Ahlborn seems equally focused on the Hyperloop Marketplace. On July 6, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will host an international hackathon, called the Digital Innovation Challenge, at Bratislava International Airport in Slovakia. The main purpose of the hackathon is to deliver new applications to the Hyperloop Marketplace.

The hackathon’s organizer, Austria-based software company Catalysts, is developing the platform for the Hyperloop Marketplace, which is based on proprietary technology that can process about one million events per second in near real time, using only 700W of power.

By attracting companies like Catalysts to the Hyperloop Marketplace, Ahlborn hopes to nurture a pool of technological knowledge that is better than the sum of its parts.

“We don’t really believe that we’re the best. We believe that if we create an ecosystem, this ecosystem will actually innovate,” Ahlborn says.

We Could Soon Be Traveling By Hyperloop.

Elon Musk first discussed the concept of Hyperloop in 2012. Since then, he has shared detailed plans for the transportation system, which could theoretically hit a top speed of 760 mph (1,220 km/h). Two companies have plans to develop Hyperloop, and one, Hyperloop Technologies Inc., has said that there will be an operational Hyperloop somewhere in the world by 2020. The system would shoot windowless “pods” through tubes, and Musk has described it as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun…and an air hockey table.”


Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Vision Could Be Ready for Passengers by 2018

The Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s vision of launching humans through pods inside a high-speed transportation system, could be ready for passengers by 2018, according to a company building a transportation track in California.

PHOTO:The Hyperloop could be ready for passengers by 2018.

The billionaire businessman first unveiled his futuristic idea in 2013, calling it “a cross between a Concord, a rail gun and an air hockey table.” He published the 57-page design plan on both Tesla Motors‘ and SpaceX’s blogs as a PDF available for download and for anyone to bring the idea to life.

One company working to make Musk’s vision a reality, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said it has filed for construction permits in Quay Valley, California, for a 5-mile track.

“We are announcing the filing of the first building permit to Kings County to the building of the first full-scale hyperloop, not a test track,” Bibop Gresta, the chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a CNBC/TradeShift event.

Once implemented on a larger scale, Musk’s plan envisions a Hyperloop that could carry travelers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour, easily beating out a costly high-speed rail project.

The Hyperloop is a large pneumatic tube, similar to the system used by some hospitals to transport documents, samples and medications in a more efficient manner. New York City also relied on a network of pneumatic tubes to transport mail during the first half of the 20th century.

For human travel, Musk calls for a large fan to be mounted to the front of a pod, which would re-direct high pressure to the rear of the capsule, facilitating even higher speeds.

Billionaire Elon Musk unveils futuristic “Hyperloop” transport.

 California billionaire Elon Musk took the wraps off his vision of a futuristic “Hyperloop” transport system on Monday, proposing to build a solar-powered network of crash-proof capsules that would whisk people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour.

In a blog post, Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc described in detail a system that, if successful, would do nothing short of revolutionizing intercity transportation. But first the plan would have to overcome questions about its safety and financing.


The Hyperloop, which Musk previously described as a cross between a Concorde, rail gun and air-hockey table, would cost an estimated $6 billion to build and construction would take 7 to 10 years. Eventually, according to the plan, it would jettison more than 7 million people a year along one of the U.S. West Coast‘s busiest traffic corridors.

As many as 28 passengers could ride in each pod and the system could even transport vehicles through a low-pressure steel tube at up to 800 miles (1,287 km) per hour, according to the 57-page design plan.

Musk, who in the past has hinted at the hopes of building such a system, proposed the Hyperloop as an alternative to a $68 billion high-speed rail project that’s a major priority of California Governor Jerry Brown. It would be safer, faster, less expensive and more convenient, Musk said in the blog post.

But not everyone is convinced the project is a good idea.

Jim Powell, a co-inventor of the bullet train and director of Maglev 2000, which develops high-speed transport systems using magnetic levitation, said the system would be highly vulnerable to a terrorist attack or accident.

“The biggest overall problem is the idea of the low pressure tube from a terrorist standpoint,” he told Reuters after taking an initial look at Musk’s specifications. “All a terrorist driving along the highway has to do is pull over, toss a net of explosives at it, and then everyone in the tube dies,” he said.

Musk said that since the tube will be low- but not zero-pressure, standard air pumps could easily overcome an air leak. He also said the transport pods could handle variable air densities.

Musk may also have neglected to factor in a few costs. Powell said that since an extensive monitoring system would be needed to keep track of the tube’s pressure, the cost of the project could double Musk’s estimate, coming closer to $12 billion.

Hyperloop, detailed:


Musk, who made his name as a PayPal founding member before going on to start SpaceX and Tesla, envisions capsules departing every 30 seconds at peak times and traversing the roughly 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco along an elevated tube erected along the I-5 interstate highway.

The capsules ride an air cushion blasted from “skis” beneath, propelled via a magnetic linear accelerator.

The expected half-hour travel time for Hyperloop passengers compares with current travel times of an hour and 15 minutes by jet, about 5 and a half hours by car, as well as about 2 hours and 40 minutes via California’s planned high-speed rail.

Other major questions remain, notably whether the California state government will ever approve the massive project, and whether any private companies are willing to step in and build it. The design remains theoretical and has yet to be tested in the field.

Musk has said he is too busy running electric car company Tesla and rocket manufacturer SpaceX to build the Hyperloop himself. He said the design plans were open-source, meaning others can build on them.

On Monday, however, he told reporters on a conference call he could kick off the project.

“I’ve come around a little bit on my thinking here,” he said. “Maybe I could do the beginning bit… and then hand it over to somebody else.”

He said he would be willing to put some of his personal fortune toward the project but stressed that building the Hyperloop was a low priority for him as he continues to focus primarily on SpaceX and Tesla.

He also asked the public for help to improve the design. Corporations have resorted in the past to public assistance on their products. In 2009, Netflix Inc awarded a cash prize to a team that succeeded in improving by 10 percent the accuracy of its system for movie recommendations.


Source: Yahoo news