Geely Partners With Chinese Aerospace Company to Build Supersonic Trains
Geele, A Chinese Company That Owns Volvo, Is To Build Supersonic Trainsby Safet Satara, on
In an effort to create an all-new transportation system, Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group partnered with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC). This way, the companies will double their efforts to develop supersonic trains.
If Elon Musk and Hyperloop come to your mind now, you are right. Geely and state-owned CASIC are looking to develop and build supersonic trains that can travel up to speeds of 620 mph. It is a system that, at least in writing, reminds us a lot of the Elon Musk proposed Hyperloop.
What Do Supersonic Trains Require?
Signing the agreement, Geely and CASIC are obligated to create a framework for the development of new technologies that would, in reality, make this project feasible. Not only does the creation of a transportation system like this require a massive working effort, but it also entails the development of new technologies, most advanced safety measures, and possibly research that would lead to the development of all-new materials.
After all, in a jointly published statement, the representatives of both companies noted that the new transportation system will use two important technologies - magnetic levitation to eliminate ground friction, and vacuum tubes to reduce air resistance. While all of this sounds somewhat simple on paper, it is, in reality, rather difficult to achieve.
With trains traveling at more than 600 mph in these tubes only meters from the ground, something can go wrong in a blink of an eye.
That is why Hyperloop and some other companies presented a solution that includes tubes suspended a few meters off the ground on specially developed pylons. These would serve as a sort of a suspension for the whole system and would greatly reduce the risk of an accident in the event an earthquake or other natural disaster.
Interestingly enough, the official statement released by Geely and CASIC proposed speeds of up to 2,480 mph. Now, this is only a distant possibility, but it does showcase the potential of transportation technology. Of course, only if the safety hurdles can be overcome.
Chinese Developed System
A number of technology firms all around the globe are looking to develop a similar system, but it seems that the biggest hurdle to overcome is actually the safety of passengers. That is why Geely CEO, Li Shufu, commented that “core technologies can’t be bought.” During the presentation in the Chinese city of Zhuhai, he also added that “the more you use others technology, the more reliant you become.”
Obviously, he is convinced Geely and CASIC must develop the system on their own.
When Can We Expect Supersonic Trains To Start Transporting Passengers
Up until this point, Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One, and Arrivo, all from the U.S., showed the biggest strides toward the development of high-speed transit.
Some testing tubes and passenger modules have already been completed with preliminary testing scheduled for 2019. The most optimistic of the bunch actually imply that the first tubes will be operable during 2019. In reality, I think we are in for a decade or two of development before you start seeing long, vacuumed tubes suspended next to highways with trains blitzing through them.
Read more about Hyperloop One.
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