First revealed in 2013, Elon Musk’s ‘Hyperloop’ project is coming closer and closer to being a reality.
The concept for the Hyperloop is a form of travel similar to a high-speed train, however instead of riding on rails, the passenger compartment of the Hyperloop is magnetically suspended inside a tube. When running at full speed, it could transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about half an hour. While this seemed like a purely sci-fi concept when first proposed by Musk in 2013, brushed off as a pipe dream, development for the Hyperloop took off drastically when Musk open-sourced the project, allowing outside groups to develop and expand upon they Hyperloop Technology.
Hyperloop Construction to Begin in King’s County, Central Valley
Now, a research company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), unaffiliated with Musk or any of his other companies and ventures, has announced that it will start work on building a five-mile test track in Quay Valley, a proposed solar-powered city in Kings County, California, over the next few weeks. However, construction of the Hyperloop test track is expected to take two and a half years.
When construction is completed, however, the test track in Quay Valley will reportedly transport 10 million people throughout its trial phase. Tests of both empty “pods” and those with passengers will be completed. Passenger tests will only reach around 160mph, but the company will also send empty capsules around for full speed tests at 760mph.
Solar Powered Transportation
The Hyperloop transport system has been designed to run solely on solar power and be self-sufficient. In fact, there is expected to be a surplus of solar, wind and kinetic energy from the Hyperloop’s operation that could be sold back to the grid. The plan appears to be to only charge passengers for tickets during peak commute hours, allowing travel during the rest of the day free of charge, and to make most of the profit from the system in the sale of this surplus energy.
It’s an incredible notion, to have low-cost or nearly free transportation that is planned to move passengers twice as fast as a commercial airplane. But travel on the Hyperloop may not be for everybody- passengers traveling inside of a Hyperloop pod will be subject to g-forces similar to those experienced by Formula One race car drivers. However, for those prone to queasiness, Elon Musk claims that despite somewhat strong g-forces, the lateral acceleration, or up and down movement, which is what tends to make people feel motion sick, will be lower than those on a subway ride. In addition, there may not be windows, due to the nature of the fully sealed system. Instead, to ease claustrophobia, passengers will be presented with a virtual reality experience displayed on the walls of the tube. For some, it will be worth it, with the project expected to will the travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to just 30 minutes – incredibly fast for a 400 mile trip.
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