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Hyperloop transportation system

10/1/2017 507 Geography | Transport | View Recent Current Affairs

  • A committee under NITI Aayog is formed to look into the feasibility of having hyper loop transportation, where a pod like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at high speeds matching that of aircraft — in the country.

What is the Hyperloop?

  • The Hyperloop is a concept proposed by billionaire inventor Elon Musk, CEO the aerospace firm SpaceX.
  • Musk’s Hyperloop consists of two massive tubes. Pods carrying passengers would travel through the tubes at speeds topping out over 700 mph. For propulsion, magnetic accelerators will be planted along the length of the tube, propelling the pods forward. The tubes would house a low pressure environment, surrounding the pod with a cushion of air that permits the pod to move safely at such high speeds, like a puck gliding over an air hockey table.
  • Musk’s design recommends an air compressor on the front of the pod that will move air from the front to the tail, keeping it aloft and preventing pressure building up due to air displacement.

Analysis:

  • Conventional means of transportation (road, water, air, and rail) tend to be some mix of expensive, slow, and environmentally harmful. Road travel is particularly problematic, given carbon emissions and the fluctuating price of oil. As the environmental dangers of energy consumption continue to worsen, mass transit will be crucial in the years to come.
  • Rail travel is relatively energy efficient and offers the most environmentally friendly option, but is too slow and expensive to be massively adopted. At distances less than 900 miles, supersonic travel is unfeasible, as most of the journey would be spent ascending and descending (the slowest parts of a flight.) Given these issues, the Hyperloop aims to make a cost-effective, high speed transportation system for use at moderate distances.
  • The Hyperloop tubes would have solar panels installed on the roof, allowing for a clean and self-powering system.
  • There are of course some drawbacks in this system. Most notably, moving through a tube at such high speeds precludes large turns or changes in elevation. As a result, the system is optimal for straightforward trips across relatively level terrain.
  • Realistically, the most important problem in getting any project off the ground is mone. Even if one can produce an impressive blueprint, there are still issues of public approval, legislation, regulations, and contractors to worry about.
     

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