Whatever you may think about the hyperloop idea (I remain a skeptic, personally), things do appear to be moving forward. With regard to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the companies trying to commercialize the idea, it has apparently started constructing a full-scale passenger hyperloop capsule — following 3 years of research and development efforts.
The new full-scale passenger capsule will be publicly unveiled sometime in early 2018. The capsule is being built in partnership with the aeronautics and aerospace materials firm Carbures SA.
This news follows reports that Hyperloop One, the other main company trying to commercialize the hyperloop idea, has built a new development test tube for use at its test track in Las Vegas. Hyperloop One, as a reminder, is slated to develop a system that will transport passengers from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes. There’s also talk of a possible route in Slovakia.
Here are some more details regarding the latest news from HTT, via a press release from the company:
Construction is underway for delivery and an official reveal in early 2018 at HTT’s R&D center in Toulouse, France for integration and optimization. The capsule will then be utilized in a commercial system soon to be announced from the ongoing negotiations and feasibility studies currently taking place around the world.
HTT’s passenger capsule is being built in collaboration with Carbures S.A., a leading expert in fuselage and advanced materials construction in both aeronautics and aerospace. The final specs for the capsule are:
- Length: 30 meters (98.5 feet)
- Diameter: 2.7 meters (9 feet)
- Weight: 20 tons
- Passenger capacity: 28-40
- Speed: Up to 1223 km/h (760 mph)
“We are building the world’s first full scale passenger hyperloop capsule,” commented HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn. “We are taking a passenger first approach to guarantee that safety is always our number one concern. It has been crucial in our development to go past the simple requirements of freight in order to build a better and safer system for everyone.”
While I remain skeptical that widespread commercial use will ever be achieved, I’m still a bit curious to see how far things can be taken. Niche applications may well end up being commercially viable in some wealthy, heavily urbanized regions, and/or industrial areas. We should have a better idea what’s commercially feasible within the next few years.
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