Hyperloop has been in development for years after it was first mooted as an idea by Elon Musk the founder of Tesla, a company that was set-up to look into how technological advancements could make human life easier.
What is Hyperloop?
Simply, Hyperloop is a very high-speed autonomous transport system that sends pods through tunnels using vacuum technology. It is proposed that speeds as high as 621mph could be reached, speeds that could potentially revolutionise long-distance travel as we know it.
A number of companies have expressed an interest in the system, especially as there is an ever-growing clamour to have a transport system that is kinder to the environment than flying, for example.
Does it have competition?
Hyperloop isn’t the first high-speed transport system being trialled at the moment, with the Maglev (short for magnetic levitating) train being trialled in Japan. As the name suggests, the system relies on a series of magnets to levitate the train so that no part of it is touching the track.
This means no friction, which should equate to much faster speeds than a traditional train, and a speed test in Mount Fuji Japan in 2015 set a new speed record of 374mph.
Will it work?
Tests with empty pods have all been a success, with speeds only limited by the length of the tube, but not so long ago, the first test involving actual passengers took place.
Virgin Hyperloop sent two employees down a 500-metre test track at a top speed of 107mph, a trip that took 15 seconds, and with the occupants not experiencing any adverse effects from the acceleration and deceleration.
Critics of the system say that it is merely science-fiction and to build a series of tubes and tunnels for every possible direction is going to be difficult, both with planning permissions and the sheer scale of the infrastructure.
There is no doubt that the planet needs a more environmentally friendly global rapid transport system, but is Hyperloop the way forward or will it be condemned to be forgotten about like so many other “out there” projects?