Is vacuum the key component to futuristic, high-speed, low energy land travel?
The much vaunted Hyperloop has a number of companies driving innovation and prototypes to build pods designed to travel in a vacuum using magnetic levitation at superfast speeds. The brainchild of Elon Musk, in 2015 he launched a competition for organisations to develop a feasible version.
Virgin’s Hyperloop One was the first team to test a working prototype that reached 70mph in 5.3 seconds in its Nevada desert test in May 2017. Since then, for example, Hardt Hyperloop, has successfully completed two years of feasibility tests in Europe.
Propelled through a vacuum at speeds of up to 760 miles per hour, hyperloops could cut the 424 mile, 4.5 hour rail journey from London to Edinburgh down to just 50 minutes.
Many countries and continents are now supporting hyperloop design exploration and feasibility studies. Hyperloop promises much faster travel for less energy and a lower price, compared to existing modes of transportation. And no doubt, any hyperloop solution will demand intelligent systems and also be stuffed full of semiconductors.