Is this the next high-tech mode of travel?

Meet the world’s first full-scale hyperloop capsule, called Quintero One (quintero in Spanish means “fifth”), a 32-meter/105-foot plane without wings or windows, for lack of a better comparison. It’s expected to be “optimized and ready for passengers” in 2019, and its makers are touting it as possibly the safest form of transportation in the world.

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The pod was built in southern Spain by HyperloopTT’s partner, a new company called Artificial, which usually does contracts for Boeing and Airbus.

It measures 32 meters, or 105 feet, in length, and weighs 5 tons. Its inner cabin length is 15 meters, or 50 feet, roughly the size of an average subway car.

According to its makers, it took 21,000 hours of engineering and a further 5,000 assembly hours to complete the vehicle, using 82 carbon fiber panels and 75,000 rivets. It apparently even has a double skin, so that in the event the outer one ruptures during operation, it can safely take its 188 passengers home.

The company calls the woven material it uses for the capsule Vibranium and it has been specially designed for this application. And now that it has been completely assembled, it will go to the company’s research and development center, in Toulouse, France where further building and testing will be carried out.

New Hyperloop Pod Unveiled, Could Go Into Service Next Year
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The co-founder and CEO of HyperloopTT, Dirk Ahlborn, said “The creation of this capsule represents over a year long journey of the best expertise in design, engineering, and the development of cutting edge materials. In just five years we have solved and improved upon all of the technology needed for Hyperloop with our new levitation system, vacuum pumps, batteries, and smart composites. This capsule will be a part of one of the most efficient transportation systems ever made.”

Interestingly, the idea to have a train-like vehicle travel through vacuum tube is by no means new (it’s called a vactrain), and it was actually first thought up in the 18th century and then many proponents of the idea came and went over the years and nothing really serious happened.

That is, however, until 2012 when Elon Musk picked up the idea and became a serious advocate for it.

Musk called it Hyperloop and made it clear that it would be an open source project and several companies have picked up the idea, including TransPod from Canada, Zeleros from Spain and Virgin Hyperloop One. But HyperloopTT is probably closest to making a viable design and its design will apparently be ready first.

Further Reading

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Read about Hyperloop One.

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