First Hyperloop Passenger Test

Virgin Hyperloop is had its first-ever passenger test. They have two people at a time in the pods on a 500-meter test track. There are eight companies working towards developing the Hyperloop concept.

The Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation, first used to describe an open-source vactrain design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX. Hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes with low air pressure through which a pod may travel substantially free of air resistance or friction. The Hyperloop could convey people or objects at airline or hypersonic speeds while being very energy efficient. This would drastically reduce travel times versus trains as well as planes over distances of under approximately 1,500 kilometers (930 miles).

Elon Musk first publicly mentioned the Hyperloop in 2012. His initial concept incorporated reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors.

ET3 Global Alliance is an American open consortium of licensees dedicated to global implementation of Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies. It was founded by Daryl Oster in 1997 with the goal of establishing a global transportation system utilizing car-sized cargo and passenger capsules traveling in 1.5meter diameter tubes via frictionless superconductive maglev. ET3 has filed a series of new patents in 2014 relating to the field of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS). As of 2016, more than 380 licenses have been sold in 22 different countries, including China, where ET3 claims that more than a dozen licenses have been sold. Daryl Oster and his team met with Tesla Motors/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in late July, 2013, to discuss the technology, resulting in Musk promising an investment in a 3 mile (4.8 km) prototype of ET3’s design.

The Hyperloop Alpha concept was first published in August 2013.

It seems the timing of the Hyperloop Alpha and the meetings with ET3 indicate that Hyperloop traces back to ET3. The initial Hyperloop plans talked about using bypass fans but later engineering work took the design back into alignment with the very low-pressure ET3 designs.

The two-seater Experimental-Pod-2 (XP-2) was built to demonstrate critical safety subsystems, allowing passengers to safely travel in a hyperloop environment. The production vehicle will look radically different and seat up to 28 passengers.

It seems that the Elon Musk Boring Company will make regular loop transports. Electric vehicles and pods at lower speeds would be able to transport goods and people with cost-competitive solutions versus disrupting roads by adding additional lanes or overpasses or new highways.

37 thoughts on “First Hyperloop Passenger Test”

  1. Not that difficult to solve, there will be no evacuation plan it's like a plane, it just go forward of backwards (if possible). The time it gets from end to end is very fast.
    You could have some kind of chamber in some key places to "get out", it's possible, you just have to lock the vehicle to a side "door" like you have in space stations. If it stops for some reason at least you don't fall to your death… an independent way to move it it's not that hard either, it should even come to that but if it does it can be solved rather quickly.
    If you loose vacuum nothing happens, air resistance is increased nothing more.

  2. I would say the risks are somewhat less than aircraft, if something does enough damage to the lightweight aluminum aicraft, it tends to impact the ground at terminal velocity.

    with hyperloop, IF something does enough damage to the heavy steel tube, (good luck with that if it's below ground) then you could hit a wall of air at terminal velocity, if you can't stop in time.

  3. Yes bad actors are looking for softer targets. You know what is a soft target? A big above ground vacuum tube. Super easy to cripple it.

  4. Personally I think that cruising along in a vacuum tube at 500 mph an inch or two from the wall while an earthquake shakes the whole tube is kind of scary.

    Or I think about how easy it is for one guy with some 7.62 rounds to wreck the infrastructure.

    It is important to think about failure and how to handle it.

  5. …having an evacuation plan if you lose vacuum and have somebody stuck in a hundred mile long section…

  6. Problem is that to reduce travel time you need direct connections between stations but each direct connection is a significant investment in the line because it involves the physical infrastructure of the tube.

    The beauty of airports is that you can go wherever the airline wants to go once the airport is built- there is no additional infrastructure. Once the airport is created you are connected.

    Its just wi-fi vs physical cable all over again, or to put it on more modern terms its Starlink (airports) vs landlines (Hyperloop).

  7. Condensation of steam gives off energy. A whole lot of energy. Which then warms up the rest of the steam pushing it further away from the condensation point.

    Steam is one of the worst compounds to use for this, it has a HUGE energy of vaporisation.

    It actually works well at the other end of the scale. Where ice just below freezing will melt under pressure. Which is how skates and sleds work. But that doesn't help with your air friction.

  8. chuckle. brought up the image of Schwarzenegger head burst in the Mars colony classic ' Total Recall' was that CGI or physical effect?

  9. Soon people will have a choice to suffocate due to loss of air pressure on Mars, or in a Hyperloop tunnel on earth.

  10. Personally I think that maintaining a massive long very low pressure tube might turn out to be a maintenance nightmare.

    There have been some proposals to use gases other than air/nitrogen inside. You've suggested steam, I've seen helium with 12 percent oxygen (so breathable) suggested too. It would have a quarter of the density of air at the same pressure, so rather than the 300mph that current maglev trains it they could reach 600mph:

    I'd rather see SkyTrans hanging maglev pods used as inter city transit. These only go 100mph, but have the advantage of a cheap elevated track, and are pods not trains, so can be used for more point to point travel rather than a train that either has to stop at every stop or be an express train and only serve a few stations.

  11. Technically speaking, I prefer HyperloopTT's passive Inductrack system. Does not need electrical energy to provide magnetic levitation and is safer. It is a much clever and elegant solution.

  12. I love the idea, but doesn't the pressure wave come with energy?
    IIRC, the pointy bits on the froint of supersonic jets gets hot.

  13. The biggest thing to make this concept viable is capacity needs to be improved considerably. Regardless if it ends up being financially viable, I want to see these projects play out and the technology mature and not just dismiss it out of hand.

  14. Even plane security is massively over-done. We had essentially no real security on planes for decades and people were fine. One bad events happens and we massively over-react and inconvenience tens of millions of people every year. I'm not worried at all about security for Hyperloop.

  15. Sciencey question-thought on hyperloops:

    What if the hyperloop tunnel was filled exclusively with 1 atm pressure steam (water vapor) at just over 100C? (I would assume insulating the tube well to minimize heat loss is safer and possibly cheaper than trying to maintain an ultra-low pressure.)

    The HL car comes racing along, led by a pressure wave moving at the same velocity but spread over a long distance in front of the car (so long as the car moves slower than the speed of sound in steam – about 477m/s or 1717km/hr, which I believe is roughly constant as density and pressure change proportionally and speed of sound is proportional to the square root of their ratio, which would be near constant). The elevated pressure wave should cause the steam to liquify ahead of the car.

    Might not that water fall out of the way before it is much accelerated by the moving pressure wave, thereby reducing energy expended? Maybe enough to make this an alternative to an evacuated tube?

  16. In recent years they mostly not even attacking planes, just doing shootings in crowded areas or truck ramming attacks.

  17. This makes me wonder about viability for international travel. What kind if implications would this have for being able to travel beneath oceans? Would be pretty cool to have Hyperloop travel across the Atlantic or Pacific. That might even have luxury travel potential.

  18. Wish them success, but our technological level is not there yet for such system to be reliable. For example maintaining safely, reliably a vacuum in a hundred-thousand of miles long tube

  19. Terrorism really does not appear to target vulnerabilities in our society. There are so many, and they are mostly ignored.
    The issue with terrorism appears to be that they mostly just hate aeroplanes.

  20. I am informed that as a white man, Nikola Tesla must have stolen all his inventions from dark skinned women of non-binary gender.

  21. And he invented it after the guy resigned from the patent office because everything had clearly been invented.

  22. Maybe. I've never been very convinced that the hyperloop concept was viable from either a financial standpoint or a safe-from-sabotage standpoint. Putting the tube in a tunnel helps with the safe-from-sabotage standpoint, but I don't know whether it helps enough. I can't guess whether it helps or hurts the financial standpoint.

    Maybe I'm overly-concerned about sabotage. For many years, I've been amazed that there has been no sabotage of either regular railroad trains or the fancy high speed trains. Seems to me it would not take a very large explosive charge to make a mess of a high speed train, assuming it were detonated at the right time as the train was passing. Has no one even tried that?

    The hyperloop thing seems much more vulnerable than a big, heavy train, but maybe my intuition about this whole topic is wrong.

  23. Enough heresy, already! We all know Nikola Tesla invented everything worth inventing.
    </sarcasm>, in case it isn't obvious

  24. So. It's mostly about the nodes, stations, and easements in the right-of-way when you want to build new passenger infrastructure – hence NIMBY. Not convinced that saving 25% or more on time between points a few hours or more apart is a huge draw to common people – witness the popularity of multi-stop-over flights and general apathy to 'express trains'. Most people live their lives on half-day and day schedules – except for commute rush. That being said, if you could cut 10 minutes off a 30-minute route in a busy downtown core with easy access in/out – it would draw crowds. I am more into the Boring Tunnels as a way to subvert regular traffic – though way better if you could enter in a vehicle that you had been previously driving and exit – rather than like an amusement park ride where you line-up and get off/on and ride in their vehicle — or even better to enter with your own vehicle like a ferry ride. Not sure that Las Vegas Boring is doing it right – but hey its Las Vegas.

  25. With Musk's boring company/machines the Hyerloop becomes much more financially viable. Musk will build the tunnels and one of the hyper loop companies will provide the trains.

  26. Also quoting Wikipedia:

    Hungarian Leo Szilard was the first who invented and patented the linear accelerator (1928) and the cyclotron in Germany in 1929.


    Gerard Kitchen O'Neill (February 6, 1927 – April 27, 1992)

    So Gerard was doing quite well to travel to Germany and help out Leo when he was only 2 years old.

    C'mon man, no hard drugs before commenting unless you bring enough for everyone.

  27. Perhaps I was thinking of "linear *synchronous* motor"? "The institute successfully built a working model of a mass driver, a
    device invented by O’Neill for cheap and efficient movement of materials
    from the Moon or an asteroid into orbit." from- Freeman J. Dyson
    Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, New Jersey
    from Physics Today, February 1993, from

    "His final venture, the high-speed train system, which he called VSE (for
    velocity, silence, efficiency), was started during his last six months.
    The basic idea of VSE is to build a train network like a telephone
    network, with all trips non-stop, the stations widely distributed, and
    the switching system transparent to the users. Unlike other high-speed
    train systems, VSE is designed to outperform commercial airlines-in
    velocity by a factor of 5, in silence by a factor of 100, in efficiency
    by a factor of 10. Like other O’Neill inventions, it will have to wait a
    long time before the world discovers how sensible it is." Seems like some sort of hyperloop, too.

  28. Quoting Wikipedia:

    "The history of linear electric motors can be traced back at least as far as the 1840s to the work of Charles Wheatstone at King's College in London,[3] but Wheatstone's model was too inefficient to be practical. A feasible linear induction motor is described in US patent 782312 (1905; inventor Alfred Zehden of Frankfurt-am-Main), and is for driving trains or lifts. German engineer Hermann Kemper built a working model in 1935.[4] In the late 1940s, professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College in London developed the first full-size working model."

    So a bit before O'Neill's time, but not necessarily a bad idea all the same!

  29. "linear induction motors" were invented by Gerard K. O'Neill, as the *mass driver*, if I am not mistaken. His invention of the GPS-like service still used by Iridium is also cool. Not to mention co inventing the cyclotron, as the sole inventor of the storage ring. Also had some ideas about Space. "The High Frontier", almost looks like what is suddenly a good idea!

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