WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
The amount of interest in the Hyperloop as a future mode of transport is increasing, and companies want you to buy into the vision.
Building a new Mach 1.0, or 760mph “train in a tube,” dubbed the Hyperloop – an idea first put out there by Elon Musk in 2013 – is no easy task, and hot on the heels of Hyperloop One, who’ve already inked two deals with Dubai and Dubai Ports to create the world’s first Hyperloop passenger and cargo network, and just announced the opening of their new DevLoop test track in Nevada, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) have decided to kick things off by building the passenger pods first. And now they’re showing off their early design.
“We are building the world’s first full scale passenger hyperloop capsule,” said 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.”
The first capsule, which is set to be officially unveiled in 2018, is “the culmination of over three years and thousands of hours of design, research, and analysis,” he went on to say.
As you can see from the video below, which admittedly is basic, but then again you have to start somewhere, it looks like the passenger pod is going to look similar to travelling on something like a Boeing Dreamliner. And as for the windows? Well you won’t have traditional windows when you’re travelling in a dark tube so it’s likely that those will be occupied by OLED displays that will no doubt flash up images of the outside world to make people feel more at ease.. let’s just hope that HTT don’t decide to flash up anything apocalyptic!
The capsule’s not just being built to show that HTT can make it a real thing either – it’s going to be used in a commercial system that the company says it’ll announce soon – one sprung from its many negotiations ongoing with various potential clients, which also include feasibility studies to help find out where in the world it makes the most sense to build a real Hyperloop capable of transporting people at very high speeds over great distances down a vacuum tube.
The new HTT passenger capsule will still undergo final “integration and optimization” at the company’s research and development facility in Toulouse, France before delivery to the still unspecified customer. It’s being made for HTT by construction partner Carbures S.A., a firm that builds parts and whole systems for use in aeronautics, defense, space and more.
The new capsule will run around 100 feet long, with a 9 foot diameter and a total weight of 20 tons and can fit between 28 and 40 passengers inside, depending on desired configuration, and can travel at speeds of up to 760 mph. For manufacturing partner Carbures, this is probably an extremely interesting and unique engineering project, where it can test its considerable aerospace engineering expertise and experience. After all, a Hyperloop is, in many ways, a ground level airplane – both are basically capsules designed to travel through extremely low pressure environments, to take advantage of reduced friction to achieve very high speeds.