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Hyperloop Competition Positively Impacts Transportation

From traffic congestion, transit delays and a lack of funding, it’s clear that transportation is facing very big issues, so big that an open forum of ideas is needed to solve them. Fittingly in Los Angeles, the city probably most synonymous with congestion, SpaceX hosted its first Hyperloop competition. The concept of the hyperloop, crafted by Tesla and SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk, would transport freight and people through vacuum tubes in high speed pods that hover over tracks. Sound a lot like the Jetsons? Probably, but it’s on the horizon. Hyperloop would allow high-speed travel (near supersonic speeds) with the convenience of rail, but without the price tag of building high speed rail infrastructure.

 

hyperloop-competition

Although this technology is still in its early stages, 30 teams from across North America and Europe showed at the competition to test their prototypes for the first time on a 1-mile track where the pressure is pumped down to 1/10 that of Earth’s atmosphere. As you can imagine, the energy and excitement at the event was tangible. Teams of brilliant engineers spent the better part of the last 18-months putting together concepts for how to move people in a way never done before. Their research and dedication could completely change transportation and  impact the way we move.

hyperloop-competition

At the Hyperloop competition, Musk announced that his next big project was to discover new ways to dig deeper, faster, and cheaper, specifically tunnels for roads, trains, and of course the hyperloop. Musk believes that by breaking down the existing technology into its component parts and reimagining it, they can dig 500%-1000% faster than with current equipment. Tunnels might sound a little strange — we get it. However, Musk notes, “If you’ve got tall buildings, they’re all 3-D. And then everyone wants to go into the building and leave the building at the same time. So then on a 2-D road network, that obviously does not work. You have to go 3-D, either up or down, and I think probably down…and then for longer distances, [for] things like the Hyperloop and other ideas.”

 

hyperloop-competition

 

This isn’t the first time Musk has challenged conventional wisdom.

He’s widely known for successfully launching an all electric car into mass production that has long range capabilities with his Tesla Motors company, as well as making a commercially viable and reusable rocket system at SpaceX, when previous models have been single use only. It’s clear that it will take big ideas and the occasional long shot initiative like the hyperloop to push the boundaries on what is possible in mass transit and beyond.

 

hyperloop-competition

hyperloop-competition

hyperloop-competition

 

Special shout out to our Passport partners who attended the event: