Hyperloop One, the high-speed transport system set to change the way we travel, has been in the news for quite some time. The project which focuses on a high-speed transit system of capsules traveling through depressurized vacuum tunnels will start the first of its operations in Dubai. Here are a few notable facts about the Hyperloop One project:
The Hyperloop One pods clock in speeds of up to 1200 kms per hours, which exceeds aircraft speed. At such sonic level speed, the travel time is reduced significantly so that journeys which normally take over two hours on road, or an hour by rail, can be completed in only a few minutes. An approximation of how long it would take to travel from Dubai to some of the nearby cities are as below:
Hyperloop One’s founders and collaborators foresee it as the next revolution in high-speed transportation.
While Hyperloop One wraps up its trial tests in the US, the first commercial route for this revolutionary transportation system is already underway in Dubai. The proposed route, announced in November 2016, will connect Dubai to Abu Dhabi. It is expected that the first Hyperloop One route shall be completed by 2020.
The first Hyperloop network connects Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Dubai station will be situated in the center of the city, at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. The Abu Dhabi station will be at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The transportation network from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is only the first in a long line of networks. The Company has also announced that there will be another cargo system to connect the port operator at DP World with Jebel Ali port. An inter-city hyperloop between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain is also being talked about. Dubai also announced plans for an intra-city hyperloop to allow easy commute for the Expo 2020 which is to be held in Jebel Ali, on the city borders.
Following on the heels of Dubai, potential Hyperloop One routes have been agreed upon in various parts of the world. Active Hyperloop One routes being planned include commercial routes in Moscow, a cargo route connecting Hunchun in China to Zarubino port in Russia, European networks between Paris and Amsterdam, one from Cracow to Gdansk and another between Bratislava—Brno—Prague, and a Hyperloop connecting Canada’s largest cities Toronto and Montreal. There are more networks in discussion in the US, Europe, and India, though there is no word of a concrete agreement yet.
Passengers can order a ride through an app and an autonomous pod will transport them to the designated gate at the Hyperloop portal. Each pod can seat 6 people and they will have the option of choosing from 4 different classes of pods; meeting, coach, lounge and cargo. The pods will be loaded in clusters of 4 onto a larger tube, or hyperpod. The hyperpod will then transport the passengers through a network of low-pressure tubes to the preferred destination. Once the tube reaches its destination, the pods will detach themselves from the tube and proceed to drop passengers off at their designated drop-offs. The whole system will be monitored from a centralized control unit.
Hyperloop One is said to fundamentally safer than trains, cars or airplanes. The entire system is immune to wind, ice, fog and rain. Moreover, the network is monitored entirely by computers eliminating human errors. With the possibility of human errors and weather barriers removed, there are very few safety concerns left for the transportation system to work. State-of-the-art emergency brake systems ensure that there are no accidents in case the air pressure in the tunnel changes. The climate controlled capsules will also be equipped with pylons making then earthquake-safe.
In addition to the safety factor, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is also developing a system that will use motion capture to simulate the outside environment on the windows of the pods. These virtual windows will give the commuters a feeling of traveling in a normal train and offer them an outside view.
The approximate cost of building a standard rail line costs between $50 million to $150 million per kilometer. A network like the Dubai metro can incur costs of $80 million to $120 million. But, the Hyperloop is estimated to be at only $40 million per kilometer. Even the maintenance costs are lower and the low energy usage makes it very eco-friendly.
Hyperloop One has already started hiring staff for its Dubai project. They are focusing on hiring people from UAE itself and have revealed plans of building a team of at least 500 people for the work. Hyperloop One, in coordination with the RTA, has also been carrying out provisional studies on the suggested routes in Dubai. The company hopes to have a regulatory framework established by 2018 and start construction in Dubai by 2019.