Hyperloop, the fifth mode of transportation, as touted, is showing progress in smart cities. Almost one year after some serious speculations, we have been able to make things clearer. The development of hyperloop is actually happening. Initiatives in different corners of the world reveal new aspects of the technology. How favourable will be the new mode for smart cities? Will it fit as one of the primary modes or complement the multimodal system? Read on to gain insights.
Hyperloop In Europe
Spanish company Zeleros is emerging as a leader in developing the hyperloop transport system in Europe. The company has announced a couple of inter-city journeys between European countries.
One is the journey from Paris (France) to Berlin (Germany) which will take 90 minutes. Second is from Lisbon (Portugal) to Madrid (Spain) in one hour. The third is Rome (Italy) To Nice (France) in one hour. And finally, London (UK) to Edinburgh (UK) in less than one hour.
Hyperloop will carry passengers at the speed of 1,000km/h inside low-pressure tubes. It will fully run on electricity and contribute to zero carbon emission goals. To move forward with the development, Zeleros has entered collaborations for funding worth €7m. This new investment will enable the company to develop as well as demonstrate hyperloop operation in the real world.
The company will set up a European Hyperloop Development Centre in Spain. This site will comprise a 3 km test-track to demonstrate the effectiveness of Zeleros’ technologies at high speed.
This initiative focuses on creating an ecosystem of partnerships with international industries, institutions and technologies. It is intended to accelerate the development of the hyperloop industry in Europe.
The skilled team and technology at Zeleros are associating with global experience from leading organisations. These organisations are from different sectors like railways, aeronautics, electrification and infrastructure.
As per Zeleros, collaborations will open the path towards hyperloop-based routes and corridors in Europe and worldwide. One of the newest investors is engineering and consulting firm Altran and Grupo Red Eléctrica. The firm is stimulating disruptive innovation in a number of sectors like mobility and reinventing itself. To Zeleros, it is contributing its multidisciplinary talent to support the development of hyperloop technology.
Zeleros hyperloop project is different from the rest in two ways. First, it is focusing on reducing infrastructure cost and maintenance. And the second is that it plans to deploy aerodynamics propulsion inside the vehicle. This will be comparable to an aeroplane. The European Hyperloop Development Centre is expected to launch next year. The real-world operations will begin in 2022.
Hyperloop As A Part Of Multimodal Transport
Dutch Hyperloop developer Hardt Hyperloop along with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and other partners conducted joint research. The study reveals how the hyperloop transport system can help the airport become a sustainable multimodal hub.
The research explains how hyperloop can arise as a new sustainable mode of high speed. It also shows how it can substitute a portion of Schiphol’s short-haul flights. As per Hardt projects, by 2050, over 73 million passengers will be flying between the major cities through this airport.
Hyperloop shows a capability to transport up to 12.5 million of the passengers that will travel during this period. As hyperloop takes the place of short-haul flights, it will free up capacity. As a result, the airport will utilise this potential in developing as a leading airport hub in Europe.
Hardt and Schiphol are intending to recognise the potential development described in the study. Both are planning to expand their collaboration with more extensive research. Going ahead, the research suggests an initial network that connects Schiphol with the primary neighbouring airports. These include Belgium, Germany, France and the UK that currently have direct flight connections.
With the new transport network, Hardt proposes to build an on-demand, affordable transport system. This will allow people to travel long distances in a short time without contributing to carbon emissions. People will be able to expand their boundaries and choose where they wish to live and work.
Hardt is entering discussions with other authorities and companies. This is to ensure that hyperloop plays a key role in a sustainable high-speed transport network in Europe.
To conclude, the study shows the valuable addition of hyperloop. It is devising a basis to become a successful mode of sustainable transport in the future.
The Post-COVID Benefits Of Hyperloop
Virgin Hyperloop One shows how the future transport system is ideal for the post-COVID situation. The company’s Director of Passenger Experience Sara Luchian reveals new features to Forbes.
There are no wait times. There is more spacing and less congregating. The hyperloop transport is not subject to weather delays as it travels in an enclosed tube. Besides, pods (the compartments) are 100% customizable to accommodate 16 to 28 passengers. Each one can be reconfigured for any need including hauling cargo. Hence, Luchian adds this is what makes it ideal for a post-COVID world.
A prototype pod with the mentioned features is ready to be launched at Dubai World’s Fair in October 2021. And the first Hyperloop One is scheduled for 2030. Its certification will be obtained in the following years.
In addition, everything is automated and human contact during, before, or after the ride will be extremely less. Luchian explains that you call a pod, get to the station and undergo scanning or luggage and your temperature. It will also comprise the role of biometrics. After completing this step, you board the pod and get off at your station.
Human staff will work for Hyperloop One. But that work will be done remotely with no contact between staff or passengers.
Further health concerns can be addressed by integrating additional features. These could be the incorporation of contactless technology, facial recognition and thermal scanners.
Hyperloop One will have antimicrobial copper and silver surfaces to kill pathogens. Ultraviolet lighting will sterilise lavatories. And organic elements such as ambient scents and sounds will connect passengers to nature and help them relax.
Luchian further says that what they are developing is not a work of fiction. It is the least invasive technology rising in compliance with privacy laws.
Expert Talk On Hyperloop
David Pistoni, CEO of Zeleros Hyperloop says that hyperloop is not a global solution to address all mobility challenges. It is just a new vehicle that will complement the existing transportation systems.
In the travelling distance between 400 km and 1500 km, trains become uncomfortable while aeroplanes become inefficient. Hence, Hyperloop is the optimal solution for this range of distance.
In addition, hyperloop is fully electric thereby complying with the Paris Agreement and the climate objectives. It also agrees with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number 8 and 9. Keeping this in mind, it has multiple benefits. In a way, it is a new opportunity for smart cities to mitigate carbon emissions.
Hyperloop is real and it will be around within this decade. Paul Comfort, author of The Future of Public Transportation, vice president of business development at Trapeze Group confirms.
Development is happening at full speed as the test track is running in Las Vegas and investment has been put in development in Dubai.
So, the world will soon have the fifth mode of transportation operating in smart cities.