It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Hyperloop One has finally completed its first full systems test. Well, it actually happened on May 12, and Hyperloop One has only just released news of their achievement. It lasted just 5.3 seconds and went a fraction of the speed it is expected to one day achieve, but this is still progress all the same.
To celebrate the “historic moment”, the company shared a video of their test run, as well as new images of its prototype pod that will, at some point, ferry people and cargo at theoretical speeds of up to 1,207 kilometers per hour (750 miles per hour). The test run in May only hit a top speed of 112 kph (70 mph), although they said that their next milestone is to crank this up to 402 kph (250mph).
“Hyperloop One has accomplished what no one has done before by successfully testing the first full scale Hyperloop system,” said Shervin Pishevar, Hyperloop One co-founder and executive chairman, in a statement. “By achieving full vacuum, we essentially invented our own sky in a tube, as if you're flying at 200,000 feet in the air.”
During the test run, Hyperloop One was able to test all of the system's components, including its motor, suspension, magnetic levitation, vacuum system, and electronic breaks. Involving almost 200 engineers and support staff, this is the first time that the hyperloop technology, suggested by Elon Musk in 2013, has been fully tested.
At the same time, the team also released images of what their capsules look like. The sleek prototype of the pod will be powered along by massive tubes in a vacuum, using magnetic levitation and electromagnetic propulsion. The 8.5-meter-long (28-foot-long) pods will be made of structural aluminum and lightweight carbon fiber.
There has been much hype surrounding the development of the system that involves, as Musk once described, a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table.” While plenty of states and cities have signed up to have the transportation system, it is still yet to be made fully operational.
“For the first time in over 100 years, a new mode of transportation has been introduced,” said Pishevar. “Hyperloop is real, and it's here now.”
If the team over at Hyperloop One can follow on from this short test with speeds more like that which will be required in the finalized version, then maybe we will actually see the system go into commercial use. Here’s hoping.