Picture Credit: Elon Musk at SpaceX
Hyperloop One (recently featured in VentureBeat) should be careful NOT to over-promise (“not just a train in a tube”) as it has made substantive technical changes to Elon Musk’s initial proposal and it abandoned the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles route that Musk envisioned in his 2013 white paper on Hyperloop Alpha here. But the search for a fifth mode of transport after planes, trains, cars and boats SHOULD meet the core criteria Elon reasoned, “compared to the alternatives, it should ideally be”:
- Lower cost
- More convenient
- Immune to weather
- Sustainably self-powering
- Resistant to Earthquakes
- Not disruptive to those along the route
Not convinced? Look at the insane south LA Interstate 405 pre-Thanksgiving traffic – “4 0r 5 hours” and it has gotten worse in Seattle with the “express toll lanes” too, according to transportation auditor Inrix. And two separate vehicle fires nearly shut down I-35 outside of Austin just crushed travel times in Travis County- just imagine the incredible loss of productivity and health-damaging stress these traffic gridlocks cause?? And driver-less vehicles are still congestion makers, NO? Business Insider explains, “according to writer Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths, co-authors of “Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions,” the difference in congestion between total chaos and a perfectly-ordered driving system — the kind proposed in a future with autonomous vehicles — is only about 33%. “If you’re hoping that networked, self-driving autonomous cars will bring us a future of traffic utopia,” they write, “it may be disheartening to learn that today’s selfish, uncoordinated drivers are already pretty close to optimal.” Driver-less electric trucks like this Audi model and driver-less buses (in 5 cities now), however, might make sense…
Picture Credit: Austin TX KRAN
Hyperloop One just issued a bold new transport plan, but show me the money! A global roadshow for the Hyperloop One System, is getting a lot of press on this premise: “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.” But, WAIT, this breakthrough could change travel in a cost-effective, energy efficient way in a lot of high density U.S. corridors within 1,000 miles – take 153 seconds to look at this breakthrough here (and IAI is not paid to promote anything- just a citizen innovation enthusiast (CIE)!)
A progress update shows that DevLoop, Hyperloop One’s full-system test track, was just installed in Las Vegas in preparation for a Q1 17 cargo test, according to Elektrek. And this is significant as it would, in fact, become a new mode of transportation which did not escape the entrepreneurial and impressively foresighted Dubai with also committed to Hyperloop and it launched a driver-less, 10 seat tourist minibus service in September. As the leading tourist destination in the Gulf, Dubai attracted 14.2 million visitors in 2015. The Telegraph (UK) tempts – “how about a 12 minute (100 mile) trip between Abu Dhabi to Dubai?” Forbes has an interesting feature on the “100 Top Executives in the Middle East” which has a lot of them looking at innovation adoption.Hyperloop co-founder Josh Geigel enthuses in Fortune that, “I think the whole country is acting like a startup,” he said. “It’s as close to terraforming a planet as you can see here. And they have a deep belief that technology can make the world better.”
Hyperloop One had already received a significant investment from the company behind the port of Dubai and it was “exploring” a hyperloop system between the marine port and what would become an inland container port in order to free up valuable portside real estates and reduce cargo traffic in the region. And the Dubai “feasibility study” is a go. “The deal will see both parties explore a route for a vacuum-sealed pod transportation system, which could potentially slash travel times between Dubai and Abu Dhabi – 150 kilometres (90 miles) apart – to around 12 minutes. The system could later be expanded to link the UAE with neighbouring Gulf countries so that a trip between Dubai and Saudi capital Riyadh – currently two hours by plane – could be completed in under 50 minutes,” the Telegraph reports.
Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd signed the deal with H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, RTA’s Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors.
The May 2016 trial of the supersonic transport system shown here – but HO reveals now that “they plan for their pods to break down in smaller pods that can also travel on roads outside of the hyperloop tube. These smaller pods can bring you to the hyperloop and lock in with other pods to go into the hyperloop for long distance travel, and it can also bring you to your end destination. ” Just remember, tourists are not going to like going 700 MPH for 3 km in a tube…[Nature’s top speed law for a given tube to pod area ratio is known as the Kantrowitz limit but there could be an engineered solution like this one here at Jalopnik.]
The devil is always in the details as the $21B projected cost for the 310 mile Helsinki to Stockholm system worked out to about $64M per mile, according to Fortune.… watch where that number goes when Estonia gets added to the “Golden Triangle” as the study author, FSLinks, details here.
Picture Credit: Hyperloop One in Fortune