The Hyperloop could one day move goods and people all over the world and make cargo ships obsolete. That’s the latest ambitious pronouncement from two of the men behind Hyperloop Technologies, Chief Technology Officer Brogan BamBrogan and CEO Rob Lloyd.
If that was not enough, Hyperloop Technologies could have a working prototype up and running by the end of 2016; in other words, next year, BamBrogan told a crowd at the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, on Nov. 4, The International Business Times reported. BamBrogan, Lloyd and the mastermind behind Hyperloop Technologies, Shervin Pishevar, made one of their first appearances together at the event.
At the event, the three outlined their plans for the next four years, which includes getting a Hyperloop system up and running somewhere by 2020. Lloyd predicted that a demonstration project somewhere will be up and running by that year.
10,000 Kilometer Hyperloop Planned
The Hyperloop could traverse distances of up to 6,214 miles (10,000 kilometers), Lloyd announced, and do it faster than commercial jets. That would make it competitive with jets; the longest jet flight is around 13,800 kilometers.
Hyperloop Technologies has already received a proposal for track that would be up to 9,300 kilometers in length, Pishevar said. That is one of three proposals the company has received from governments in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Unfortunately, he did not identify any of the governments involved.
Such a distance would mean that a Hyperloop train could travel between Lisbon and Vladivostok, or all the way across Europe and Asia. Since the Hyperloop is supposed to travel at around 700 miles an hour, the trip would take around 10 hours.
Lloyd predicted that those three projects could be built or under construction by 2020. He also predicted that the projects would demonstrate the transformative power of the Hyperloop.
The Hyperloop could help end global warming by greatly reducing carbon emissions, Pishevar claimed. It would do this by replacing ships that currently move cargo. Pishevar claimed that the 15 biggest cargo ships in the world currently produce more pollution than all the automobiles on Earth.
That means the biggest effect of Hyperloop would be to change the way cargo is moved. This is logical because most of the world’s transportation is used for cargo and not for passengers.
That also means that Pishevar thinks it might be possible to build a Hyperloop underwater. Another possibility would be transcontinental Hyperloops, perhaps one under the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia. Pishevar thinks this could one day became a sort of global Internet for moving freight.
“With a network like that, with a grid that is built around the world, you can truly move goods and packages and people like packets of data and route them so efficiently,” Pishevar said.
Hyperloop’s Kitty Hawk Moment Planned for Next Year
Pishevar thinks Hyperloop will have its Kitty Hawk moment next year. Kitty Hawk refers to the tiny town on North Carolina’s outer banks where Orville and Wilbur Wright first successfully tested their airplane.
Even if Mr. Pishevar is quite correct, it could be quite a while before Hyperloop has a real impact on our lives and the economy. It was close to 20 years after Kitty Hawk that airplanes began being used for commercial purposes of moving passengers and mail. That only occurred after the mass production of aircraft during World War I.
It took 30 years for practical air service to appear and almost 60 years before regular air travel was available to the middle class. It was only in the 1980s and ’90s that average citizens in most countries were able to afford air travel.
Likewise, it took 40 years for electronic computers, which were introduced during World War II, to reach a point where average people could utilize them and 30 years for the Internet to go from a Pentagon project to Americans’ homes. Also applicable is the automobile. Bertha Benz took the first drive in 1886; it took 20 years for cars to be mass produced and 30 years before a practical car the average person could afford would appear.
Therefore nobody should hold their breath waiting for Hyperloop. My prediction is that it will take a lot longer to perfect and commercialize this technology than our friends at Hyperloop Technologies think.