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Hyperloop One Technology Tested Successfully In Nevada Desert 100

Dave Knott quotes a report from Hyperloop One (formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies) conducted a successful test of its high speed transportation technology Wednesday in the desert outside Las Vegas. The seconds-long, outdoor demonstration featured what appeared to be a blip of metal gliding across a small track before disappearing into a cloud against the desert landscape. A fully operational hyperloop would whisk passengers and cargo in pods through a low pressure tube at speeds of up to 1,207 kph (750 mph). Maglev technology would levitate the pods to reduce friction in the city-to-city system, which would be fully autonomous and electric powered. A day earlier, the company had announced the closing of $80 million in financing and said it plans to conduct a full system test before the end of the year.
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Hyperloop One Technology Tested Successfully In Nevada Desert

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  • Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @10:04PM (#52095473)

    that is all

  • by Anonymous Coward

    speeds of up to 1,207 kph (750 mph).

    Correction: 1207.008 kph (750 mph)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No - it is 1210 kph.

      The original number is given to 2 significant digits so the conversion should likewise have 2 significant digits.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @10:07PM (#52095487)

    but it troubles me that the name of the company and the technology both start with "hype".

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @10:16PM (#52095539)

    LInk to the classic Simpsons musical, Monorail

    Monorail, Monorail, MONORAIL!

    I mean, HYPERLOOP!

    Seriously though, train systems of all sorts are an important part of an overall transportation network - it's just too appropriate not to post.

    Ryan Fenton

  • If you are looking to cut emissions expanding Freight Rail is a much better investment then Sexy Hyperloops or Bullet trains.
    • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @11:25PM (#52095847) Journal

      So ideally for a freight rail system we want high throughput, short delivery times, cheap, and running to/from convenient nearby locations.

      Breaking this down further, it suggests we want
      * Small trains (lowers latency - less time to wait for a train going to your destination. Removes/reduces need for transferring cargo between trains by allowing point-to-point service, so long as the 'point's are train stations.)
      * Autonomous (required by 'small trains' and 'cheap')
      * Handles congestion well (for high throughput with lots of small trains)
      * Fast
      * Moderately priced infrastructure.
      * High density of train stations around the country
      I.e. something like an internet for shipping containers.

      Hyperloop gives us 'fast', but fails on infrastructure price, fails at least initially on density of stations, and congestion may be problematic. Starting with the existing rail network and moving to more automation and smaller trains and solving some congestion problems (perhaps the hardest bit) gives everything but 'fast', but for many purposes is 'fast enough'.

      It still needs to be competitive compared to autonomous trucks.

      TL;DR: I agree.

      • by Ramze ( 640788 ) on Thursday May 12, 2016 @03:21AM (#52096549)

        That sounds like a solution looking for a problem. My uncle and grandfather work(ed) for the railroad. For freight, you're never going to make a dent with this plan. Freight is all about momentum, not speed. Starting and stopping cargo are the hardest parts. You need a powerful engine just to move 1 fully loaded car, but that same engine can pull lots of cars -- it just hast to pick up speed over time. You're never going to pick up serious speed before you get to a populated area where you have to slow down -- because railways cross roadways. Stopping even a single car quickly requires a bag of sand to be dropped on the steel railing and makes enough friction to ruin the wheels. You're not going to get cars carrying tons of cargo to go faster than the current system. Worse -- breaking up a single locomotive train w/ tens of cars into lots of smaller cars means lots and lots of wasteful engines that have to pull those smaller cars. They'd also have to have a much larger space between each car to be able to reasonably slow down in time should one have a problem. You'd need to increase the number of tracks to make up for the wasted space to push the same amount of cargo over time. In short, there's reasons why they do things the way they do them now... mostly physics and logistics reasons.

        Assuming you could update the patchwork of decades old systems properly, it wouldn't give you much savings as humans will likely be required for safety reasons well into the future - just like pilots still fly passenger planes even though autopilot does most of the work between take-offs and landings... even subway trains have conductors. We're talking about miles of track that cross public roadways with children on bikes -- not going to go fully automatic anytime soon.

        Even if you re-designed the entire system to be above-ground mag-lev freight with novel breaking systems to achieve this insane acceleration/deceleration, you'd have such massive construction and power issues, it would be super-expensive. The average weight for a freight rail car is around 130 tons fully loaded. A fully loaded passenger maglev car is between 50 and 70 tons. It's not impossible... and one could often just split the cargo between multiple cars if needed. It'd be expensive, though. You'd still need to use trucks to get from the train station to the final destination.

        The hyperloop is for extremely fast passenger travel to replace airlines. It has lightweight cargo (people and maybe luggage), and can be built on railways above ground with cheaper construction than the support needed for heavy freight. Above-ground tubing can be safe enough to be an automated system. It's horribly expensive because of the land purchase, construction, maintenance, safety, etc... but, once it's built, it could offer transportation faster and safer than air travel. Should eventually be cheaper, too -- and no need to worry about hijackers as it's on a track... and there's no explosive fuel to blow up a building with even if it went off-track.

        Basically, the hyperloop is the replacement for air travel over land. It could also carry cargo/freight in addition to passengers if the weight and space constraints allow. A hyperloop or maglev train system might solve other problems with the freight industry as well.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I'm not entirely convinced by the Hyperloop idea. It's not that much faster than the maglev is expected to be (the main limitations at the moment are the length of the test track and an abundance of caution) and carries many fewer passengers.

          That could be a big issue in the US, because people there are not as disciplined as the Japanese when boarding trains. Bullet train doors open for 30 seconds exactly. People line up and board in an orderly fashion. Thus stops are short and turn-around fast (the cleaning

          • Not only that, the failure mode for trains is bad enough, can you imagine this thing?

            Maintaining a partial vacuum over long distances, how do you protect it from anyone who wants to take a crack at it with something as simple as a pipe bomb?

        • Thanks for that analysis. I bow to your superior knowledge.

          Humans for safety: "We're talking about miles of track that cross public roadways with children on bikes." The human on board can't do anything useful if a kid crosses in front of their train (it takes hundreds of meters to stop), so this one is a non-issue.

        • Fundamentally, this is the old FedEx problem - people think that if three points line up A B C, then the best way to get from A to B is a straight line. Federal Express was founded by Fred Smith when he realized that when you have multiple lines like this, the most efficient route is in fact A-C-B, as long as you make sure point C is the same for every line. C then becomes your hub. For overnight packages, instead of trying to fly planes between every combination of two airports in the country, you fly f
      • Instead of "small trains" specify "reconfigurable trains". If you work like Japan's bullet trains and use motorized wheels on each car, and put some battery on each car, then with a bit of other jiggering you should be able to separate trains in motion and shuffle the cars onto different lines. You do need automation for this, so I agree with that part. Instead of air brake lines running the length of the train, you have power conductors, and the engines effectively become generator cars. Such a train would

      • Maybe I am wrong, but I didnt think that freight delivery was ever the point of the hyperloop. There is nothing which can beat a 1 mile long freight train in terms of cost for shipping cargo.
        The hyperloop is a people mover.
        I would love to see people use this "train in a tube" to travel from place to place. Not because it would be faster, but because I am sick of hearing air planes until 11pm every damn night. This hyperloop should be silent or near enough to the people outside of the tube.

        For freight though

    • this is just the old bandwidth comparison between a staionwagon full of mag tapes versus the internet. yes the station wagon wins on carry more with less effort. but it loses on latency. Hyperloop is for people, freight trains are for freight.

      • Hyperloop is for people, freight trains are for freight.

        Hyperloop is also for freight when speed is more important than cost, which includes any freight currently shipped by aircraft ... which is a lot.

    • I'd be curious to know(I'm not doing doubt-in-the-form-of-a-question, I honestly don't know) how much freight goes by truck rather than by rail because of deficiencies in the rail network; and how much does because the itinerary or the cargo don't mesh well with rail transport(eg. a truck doing a long haul on the highway is probably less efficient than putting the same container on the train track running the same route; but the truck can get off the highway and drive all the way to the loading dock barring
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'd be curious to know(I'm not doing doubt-in-the-form-of-a-question, I honestly don't know) how much freight goes by truck rather than by rail because of deficiencies in the rail network;

        I've been a supply chain and logistics guy for most of my career. The answer is not much but it depends on what you want to do.

        First of all, you can never get rid of the truck. The problem with trains, ships and the Hyperloop is they're lines to single points, but the freight is only useful at the point where it needs to go IE a store or warehouse or factory. You will never have a Hyperloop station at every store or warehouse or factory, so you always need a truck to deliver from the station to the desti

  • Maglev,,,, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechnoCore ( 806385 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @10:49PM (#52095677)
    I thought tve whole point of hyperloop systems were that they did not use maglev, but floating on a cusion of air insude a tunnel instead. To radically reduce cost.
    • Building a low pressure tube that's hundreds of miles long isn't cheap. But it would enable faster speeds, competitive with a plane while cheaper per trip.

      • Its still cheap compared to building hundreds of miles of superconducting magnets.
        • If you are running it in a vacuum where there is less resistance, you shouldn't need to place magnets the entire length of the tube, just every so often to keep the speed up. Reminds me of redstone on a Minecraft track.
        • by jsm300 ( 669719 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @11:58PM (#52095965)
          Maglev is becoming a viable technology for long distance rail. The low pressure tunnel allows for more efficient low drag travel, perhaps even supersonic travel. How do you propose that the train "float" on a cushion of air in a low pressure environment? What form of propulsion are you proposing that is going to work in this low pressure environment, assuming you have a solution for the "floating" problem that doesn't involve maglev?
          • by Anonymous Coward

            If you have a small clearance between the train and the walls of the tube, and a pressure differential: the air rushing past the high pressure side will lubricate the train. If the vacuum compressor on the low pressure side can evacuate air faster than it can be replaced through the flow-restriction: this could continue on a continuous basis.


            It's likely substantially cheaper to just use electromagnetism to levitate the vehicl

          • The low pressure tunnel allows for more efficient low drag travel, perhaps even supersonic travel. How do you propose that the train "float" on a cushion of air in a low pressure environment?

            The same way a plane 'floats' at high altitude - a large amount of speed gives you access to all the air you need.

        • by jeti ( 105266 )
          Which is why the system uses passive rails.
        • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Thursday May 12, 2016 @02:08AM (#52096315) Homepage Journal

          You don't need superconducting magnets for maglev trains. There are a surprising number of options. At least one uses an induced current into wires to create a temporary magnetic field so the only power source needed is in the train. You can work this in reverse as well, so the train doesn't need to supply any power.

          Most are still expensive, of course.

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        No harder than a high pressure tube that's hundreds of miles long (pipeline), and we do that all the time. The cost of the steel for the proposed route isn't much over $1B, if I recall the numbers correctly.

        • However, a 4 foot diameter pipeline is a HUGE pipe, here we're looking at more like 8-10'.

          • And if you get small leaks in your high-pressure pipeline that only has gas flowing down it and not a heavy rail car, you still have a functional pipeline. If you develop small leaks on a hyperloop tube, you loose your vacuum and the high speeds are kaput. Not catastrophic, but potentially very expensive from an ongoing maintenance point of view. Or an initial cost point of view, depending on how robust you build.

            • And if you get small leaks in your high-pressure pipeline that only has gas flowing down it and not a heavy rail car, you still have a functional pipeline.

              No you don't, you get the EPA breathing down your neck until it's fixed and even after.

              I'm in Alaska; the pipeline is a big deal. It hits the news when they have a malfunction.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      It was. I don't even know what "Hyperloop" is supposed to mean anymore, as SpaceX held an official Hyperloop competition and selected as winners craft that were absolutely nothing like in the Hyperloop Alpha design. Their test track is designed to allow for all kinds of vehicles, maglev or not... but most of the teams were focused on maglev. No compressors, either, meaning that they can't shunt air from in front to behind, meaning either high drag or requiring a hard vacuum for operation.

      I personally fin

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There are actually two magnetic systems at work with a maglev, or linear motor car as the Japanese call them.

      You have the floating magnets, which just raise the car off the ground and don't rely on being powered constantly to work (otherwise if they failed it would crash to the ground or fly off the track). There are usually some either side too, to keep the train over the right area.

      Then you have the linear motor, which is like a normal electric motor except that instead of electromagnets being wrapped aro

  • Isn't the whole point of this idea that you run the train inside a low-pressure tube?


    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      Think about it. If this works well OUTSIDE of a tube where one must contend with the typical forces of nature (unpredictable crosswinds and such) and crash into sand on the track and remain on track OUTSIDE of a tunnel, then imagine the performance INSIDE a tunnel.

    • This was purely an engine test.

  • So amatuerish (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Powerbear ( 1227122 )

    I couldn't believe how crude their contraption is. Everything they did is 20+ years old. There are theme park rides a hell of a lot more advanced than that thing and they will brake automatically and carry passengers.

    Why aren't they concentrating on a 1/10 scale proof of concept that will be a hell of a lot cheaper to make and can advance the technology?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    km/h not 'kph'.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We can't even build a decent high-speed train system in the US, never mind a maglev train system, but we're going to build a maglev train system IN A GIANT FREAKING TUBE dozens, maybe hundreds of miles long.

    Yeah right.

    • These idiots are missing the point of Hyperloop by trying to build it. It's not meant to be built. It's meant to be an argument to shut down HSR projects, to use as yet another excuse to not do what we should do by pretending there are better alternatives.

      Texas Central will hopefully change things, as will, to a lesser extent, All Aboard Florida.

  • Can't wait! We need to offload and distribute those Chinese shipping containers ASAP, now that more and more of us will have aaaallll day to buy stuff with our non-existent salaries.
  • Travel time = distance / 750 mph + 2 hour long TSA patdown.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.