In 2012, Elon Musk first proposed the idea of a hyperloop- a new form of tube-based transportation that could efficiently transport passengers and cargo, without the environmental pitfalls of current forms of transportation. The idea of hyperloop transportation has drawn some skepticism, but the Canadian-based company, TransPod, is working to make it a reality.
What is a hyperloop?
Essentially, a hyperloop is a form of transportation in which specially designed pods travel through a system of sealed tubes. The tubes would propel passengers at speeds greater than what a plane could travel, possibly reaching speeds of hundreds of miles per hour.
Though the original ideas and designs for a hyperloop were created by Elon Musk and his company, SpaceX, it is actually an open-source idea. Musk and SpaceX encourage others to work on the idea to further expand and develop it. There is no set design for a hyperloop system because multiple people and companies have created their own takes on how to make it work.
TransPod plans to use electrically driven linear induction motors for its hyperloop. These motors use electromagnets and help to create a fossil-fuel-free form of propulsion. TransPod plans to use passenger and cargo vehicles within its system.
The successful implementation of a hyperloop system could provide many benefits. Some of these benefits include:
-No weather-related issues and delays
-Low power consumption
-More time efficiency, with speeds that could be twice that of an airplane
The creation of a successful hyperloop system could make travel more efficient and easier than ever. Time spent traveling and costs associated with it could be reduced. Amongst concerns about climate change and the environment, this system would also be far more environmentally friendly than other forms of transport.
Testing the Idea
TransPod plans to construct a prototype of its hyperloop system in Droux, France, near the city of Limoges. This hyperloop will be about half the size of a regular track. Once these tests are done, TransPod can fix any flaws in its system and eventually go on to create a full-scale model.
In 2016, TransPod received $15 million from Angelo Investments. In return for the funding, Angelo Investments is an industrial partner for TransPod and aids in the development and testing of their system.
Earlier this year, TransPod also announced a goal to raise fifty-million dollars by the end of 2018. This funding could be used to aid in the development of their test track, in France.
In the future, TransPod would like to develop routes globally. An emphasis would be placed on building tracks between major cities. Currently, they are mostly looking at cities within Canada. The system would be built with both public and private funding.
Who They Are
TransPod’s co-founders are Sebastien Gendron and Ryan Janzen. Gendron has a masters degree in aerospace engineering and Janzen is a scientist and engineering researcher, who has produced over forty scientific publications. In 2016, Janzen gave a TED talk on the future of transportation and the potential for hyperloop technology. Both founders have experience with the transportation industry, and they believe they can bring their experience and knowledge to create this new and efficient form of transport. They want to make the idea even better than the concept that Musk originally proposed.
TransPod currently has offices in France, Italy, and Canada. Along with Angelo Investments, TransPod is also partnered with the engineering firm, IKOS, REC Architecture, and Liebherr-Aerospace. TransPod has over 1,000 employees and over six hundred engineers to work on the development and testing of its system.
Ever since Elon Musk first mentioned the idea, multiple groups have stepped up to the challenge and are working to further develop it. Transpod is far from the only company interested in the idea of a hyperloop system. As a matter of fact, they have a lot of competition.
Hyperloop One, for instance, is a company that plans to bring their hyperloop system into practice by 2021. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Arrivo, and Hardt Global Technologies are also companies that aim to create a functional hyperloop system. There are other companies too, and within the last few years, more and more companies have emerged with promises to be the first to make their system work. Optimistic deadlines have been set, and the only question is: who will be the first to create a functioning hyperloop?