The development approach combines innovations in design and operational technologies with advances in ecologically sound materials and construction practices, enabling design that is resilient, innovative, structurally efficient and sustainable.
Last year, Virgin Hyperloop made worldwide headlines when it conducted the first passenger test on its hyperloop system. But the concept has been decades in the making. In the early 2000s, U.S. consortium ET3 Global Alliance CEO Daryl Oster designed a train in which car-sized pods travelled in elevated tubes. Elon Musk later revealed his first hyperloop design in August 2013, detailing how Hyperloop Alpha would be made up of enclosed capsules or pods – each containing up to 28 people – moving through a system of tubes on skis that levitated on a cushion of air.
The hyperloop technology is now being developed by several companies including HyperloopTT, which has licensed its technology to Hyperloop Italia for use in Italy. The technology uses cutting-edge composite materials and safety features, including sensors embedded between carbon-fiber, fuselage skin to monitor and transmit critical information regarding temperature, stability and integrity, all wirelessly and instantly. Additionally, the system has a low implementation cost compared to other high-speed transportation methods and reduces the environmental cost of a large-scale infrastructure project by integrating solar panels and other renewable energy sources to create a net energy positive system that aims to generate more energy than it utilizes. The harnessing of renewable energy also lowers operational costs. The system operates in a low-pressure, fully enclosed environment, eliminating traditional hazards from weather and traffic crossings, significantly improving efficiency and reliability.
Hyperloop Italia is currently carrying out a feasibility study on a proposed route between Milan and the Malpensa Airport, which would reduce travel time from 43 minutes to 10 minutes. The planned network in Italy would be powered entirely by renewable energy sources and will be capable of producing more energy than it consumes.
Hyperloop networks are being developed in numerous countries around the world. In 2019, architecture studio MAD revealed its designs for a solar-powered system for HyperloopTT, while India approved Virgin Hyperloop One’s plans to develop a high-speed line between Mumbai and Pune, connecting the cities which are 100 miles apart in just 35 minutes. More recently, two human passengers travelled in a BIG-designed hyperloop vessel across the Nevada desert.