Hyperloop One speeds forward with its first full-scale test
Why it matters to you
Hyperloop One’s test run may not have been at full speed, but these small steps forward offer the tantalizing prospect that its super-fast transportation system could one day become a reality.
There may be those who continue to raise an eyebrow or two at the idea of the Hyperloop One becoming a reality, but at least one of the companies behind the super-fast transportation system is intent on seeing the project through to completion.
Hyperloop One announced this week that it has taken a major step forward after successfully testing a full-scale version of its technology in a vacuum environment for the very first time.
Conducted recently at the company’s DevLoop test track in Nevada, the trial run saw an “actual size” passenger pod coast above the track for just over five seconds using magnetic levitation technology — better known as maglev — while reaching nearly 2Gs of acceleration.
But if you’re imagining the vehicle hurtling along at Hyperloop’s planned top speed of around 750 mph — a speed that would cut the time of travel between, say, LA and San Francisco from six hours to a mere 35 minutes — then stop right there. It didn’t go anywhere near that fast.
Instead, it reached the test’s target speed of 70 mph, though the successful run means it can now move toward the next phase that will push the pod to a more exciting 250 mph.
Describing it as Hyperloop One’s “Kitty Hawk moment,” the team wrote about the moment the pod started moving:
“’Fire in 5. 4. 3. 2, and 1.’ There was a half-second delay. A clench in the throat. Then, sure enough, the sled shot off down the track, chased by the electromagnetic force from the stator. The wheel mounts rumbled along for a second, and then the rumbling stopped as the pod lifted off the track and glided for 3 seconds before coming to a halt on its own.”
The experimental run enabled the team to put various parts of the technology through its paces, including its highly efficient motor, vehicle suspension, maglev tech, electromagnetic braking, and vacuum pumping system, “proving the full system’s components operate successfully as a single integrated unit in a vacuum,” Hyperloop One said in a release.
Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and CEO of Hyperloop One, was keen to praise his team following the trial run, saying that it had “accomplished what no one has done before by successfully testing the first full-scale Hyperloop system. By achieving full vacuum, we essentially invented our own sky in a tube, as if you’re flying at 200,000 feet in the air,” adding, “For the first time in over 100 years, a new mode of transportation has been introduced. Hyperloop is real, and it’s here now.”