An Idiot's Guide to the Hyperloop: Everything You Need To Know
May 26th, 2016
The first tests of the HyperLoop high-speed train were done this May, and so far, so good. If you have not been keeping up with the Hyperloop project, we are here to give you a rundown of what might be the biggest revolution in ground transportation of this century. Cutting the 6 hour drive between San Francisco to Los Angeles to just 30 minutes? Elon Musk’s endless innovation aims to do just that with the HyperLoop. Even the name just gives you an aura of shiny, awesome, and futuristic.
The Hyperloop is a high-speed train that will cut down intercity, interstate, or even international, travel times to practically a jog around your neighborhood. The science behind it is complex, and I can’t even begin to try explaining it, so here’s an actual scientific explanation on how it works:
“The Hyperloop concept is proposed to operate by sending specially designed ‘capsules’ or ‘pods’ through a continuous steel tube maintained at a partial vacuum. Each capsule floats on a .5 to 1.3 millimeter layer of air.”
Elon Musk himself said it was a mix between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table.
"With rolling resistance eliminated and air resistance greatly reduced, the capsules are theorized to be able to glide for the bulk of the journey”
Basically, it will go super-f***ing fast using some crazy airbending magic that allows it to go way faster than if it had wheels. Yeah, I still don’t get it but that’s probably why Elon Musk and other super-intelligent human beings are heading the project and I’m not.
lSo what problems does it hope to tackle? Quite a few, but traffic is a big one. A 2009 report estimates that $87.2 billion was lost in productivity and fuel due to traffic congestion in that year alone. How much time was actually spent in traffic? Americans collectively accumulated 500,000 years stuck in traffic. That is 4.2 billion hours that could have been spent doing something worthwhile. The positive effects of reducing traffic are difficult to measure, as more time spent at home and with families is tough to put a price on. More productive and satisfied employees are a guaranteed result of reduced time spent in traffic. When you consider all that lost revenue, Musk’s $6-8 billion fantasy sounds like it is worth the money.
While the Hyperloop is still in its early stages, early tests have shown that the logistics and physics will work. A recent test showed that it works as planned, and preliminary testing shows positive signs for the future. I mean it was only a one-mile track, so I’m not saying that it is a guaranteed success, but it could have gone much worse. It was originally inspired by another inventor’s hope to one day create something that can reach speeds of 14,000 miles per hour, turning New York to Los Angeles into basically a trip to the grocery store. However, this would do nothing short of just destroy the human body, not even considering how highly unlikely this would have been of ever happening. Musk’s goal is a much more achievable one, and you’ll be much more likely to not turn into mush during a ride on the Hyperloop.
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