back to article First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Spectators in the Nevada desert have witnessed the first public test of a Hyperloop test vehicle as it accelerated from zero to over 100 miles per hour in a few seconds before running out of track. The vehicle, built by Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies), is intended to show off that the technology publicized by …

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Unhappy

Re: So many luddites...

and lot's of people don't think electric cars will work either, but we are well on our way to achieving it.

Well really, are we?

Or is that a perception fostered by interested parties.

WE are as stalled and stuck with electric cars as we have been since their invention back in the dying gasp on the 19th century.

Lithium as a battery material has made them almost feasible, but lithium technology is now well developed and there is not a lot more to come in terms of energy density, which is the real target.

I am a great fan of electric vehicles of all sorts, but I am only too aware of the inherent limitations of batteries.

There is a faint possibility that a lithium air battery might just break the energy density barrier and be as good as fuel in terms of recoverable watt hours per lb. But that's it. A faint possibility.

And at what cost?

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Re: So many luddites...

Re: electric cars

We are also stalled on their charging. Yes we have 'basic' charging capabilities, but scale that up to a typical filling station: 8 pumps/charging points, full tank/charge in under 10 minutes, with minimal wait time between customers, and the electricity supply needs go through the roof and that's just for one forecourt - multiply that across the country...

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Re: So many luddites...

You swap batteries at the station. Already tested in Denmark.

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Facepalm

Re: So many luddites...

" I suppose you were one of the cheerleaders for Segway when it was announced, too?"

And I suppose that you are over 150 and were afraid that steam power would kill us all.

See- I can 'suppose', too. Now I shall also get off your lawn.

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FIA
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Re: So many luddites...

Good thing we don't have the same person trying to change too many forms of transport. I mean a consistent approach can't possibly work on a third transport mode can it?

To quote this piece....

"The test of Hyperloop One's propulsion system is just one step of many on the path to achieve a dream put forth by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who first drew up a plan to transport people at 760mph in low-pressure tubes in 2013. Musk decided not to pursue this business venture, which he called Hyperloop, but his whitepaper spawned two rival Hyperloop companies and an international student engineer competition."

Emphasis mine.

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Trollface

Re: So many luddites...

"I am a great fan of electric vehicles of all sorts, but I am only too aware of the inherent limitations of batteries."

Nonsense! I have it on good authority we're forging ahead full steam - just last year have I seen at least 2359816 different major battery-related breakthroughs right here on El Reg, all of them on the very brink of being commercially available, ready to revolutionize the storage of electricity. One of them is bound to land in stores any second now! You'll see...!

*sound of crickets*

...verily, any second now...!

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Re: well on our way to achieving it

London (England) had electric taxis in 1897.

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I don't know about you lot, bit I'm having flashbacks to the 1990ies.

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Happy

I'm having flashbacks to the Space 1990s. And every other SF TV programme with a travel tube.

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Trollface

Futurama for the win... ;)

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1990s, 1990s? 1960s more like...

...https://youtu.be/KKE2BHUSDBA?t=50s

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Technical Question

"The reduced air pressure allows the vehicles to move at nearly the speed of sound while using very little propulsive power."

What is the speed of sound in a "near vacuum"?

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What is the speed of sound in a "near vacuum"?

Slow enough for the sheep to hit you in the face before you can hear the dopplered and somewhat panicked "Baaaa!

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Re: Technical Question

Just to be a little pedantic, speed of sound is not related to air pressure. No air (or any other gas) of course means no sound propagation, but near vacuum is still not vacuum. Speed of sound does change as a function of temperature.

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Re: Technical Question

In Hyperloop no one can hear you scream.

Leaks tube to atmosphere, not too bad things go a bit slower.

Leaks capsule to tube, not so good (never mind the shortness of breath, its the boiling body fluids that will smart), but you still go fast.

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Headmaster

Re: Technical Question

What is the speed of sound in a "near vacuum"?

Oddly enough, it doesn't change much...

"For a given ideal gas with constant heat capacity and composition, the speed of sound is dependent solely upon temperature; see Details below. In such an ideal case, the effects of decreased density and decreased pressure of altitude cancel each other out, save for the residual effect of temperature."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_sound

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Re: Technical Question

I think I get it. The speed of sound IS affected by density (which is why it travels faster in liquid and faster still through a solid), but in a gas this is perfectly counterbalanced by an inverse correlation regarding gas pressure (meaning it slows as the pressure rises). Keeping temperature constant, raising density also raises pressure and the reverse, and the two factors cancel each other out.

Now, under normal circumstances, evacuating a chamber will pull heat out of it, making it colder, so taking temperature into consideration, pulling a partial vacuum would lower the speed of sound, though not by a tremendous amount given we normally hover near 300K anyway and the partial vacuum isn't likely to drop that by more than 10-15% under practical conditions.

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Concorde

See title.

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Re: Concorde

No, Concorde was the British version.

We dispensed with the American's vulgar evacuated tube concept and simply added wings and engines to get it to a height where there was naturally sod all air.

This also allowed it to travel rather a lot faster than a Hyperloop, take off and land all over the world without needing to lay new track, operate alongside existing infrastructure, and for a bill of £1.2Bn rather than $6Bn.

Its passengers also didn't suffer the G-force issues Hyperloop passengers will, and had access to what was described as a 'surprisingly large' selection of drinks. If it was still in operation it'd also no doubt have wifi, which will be in short supply inside a big steel tube in a bigger steel tube.

So Concorde looked better, was faster, more flexible, more practical and pleasant... and we built it about 50 years ago. A more elegant solution from a more civilised age.

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Re: Concorde

"This also allowed it to travel rather a lot faster than a Hyperloop, take off and land all over the world"

It was only faster than Hyperloop where it was allowed to fly supersonic, ie over oceans. The sonic boom carpet for Concorde was around 20 miles wide and meant that flight routes were rather limited sadly. It's why the Singapore route was discontinued.

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Vic
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Re: Concorde

So Concorde looked better, was faster, more flexible, more practical and pleasant... and we built it about 50 years ago. A more elegant solution from a more civilised age.

Have you seen this project?

It's something of a long-shot, but would be marvelous if it were to come off...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

If I was a betting man I'd say someone will build a non-trivial hyperloop system somewhere in the not to distant future. What I wouldn't like to bet on though is whether that can be done and make money. It seems to me that trains at best teeter on the edge of profitability at the best of times so building what amounts to a more complicated and therefore expensive train may not work. Going for freight transport early on is definitely the right choice though, freight is a lot more forgiving than passengers.

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They're are trains and trains. On the whole they teeter on direct profitability because they tend towards universal service with hop-on, hop-off access. Commuter services are designed to reduce traffic so pricing is often political: it needs to be low enough to deter car journeys.

Some of the highspeed rail services can be highly profitable: Cologne-Frankfurt, for example but I think also parts of the French network such as Paris-Lyon.

Freight doesn't need speed; it needs faster transfer between modes.

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And regarding intermodal transport, trains have optimized themselves considerably over the last two decades. One of the big changes was the well car which let trains carry two standard transport containers per car (and here's the beauty: with a powerful enough locomotive, you can pull hundreds of these cars; I routinely see freight trains pulling nearly 200 cars at a time, though in my neck of the woods they're mostly ore cars). Combined with improved rail-line communications to track trains and cars and optimization at transfer points, they can easily beat trucks in land transport efficiency under many different scenarios.

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Freight trains are indeed coming along like, er, freight trains. Energy recovery when breaking, lower noise.

Biggest problem is that it is almost impossible for passenger and freight trains to share track. This is the biggest problem in the US and the most difficult to resolve because new track means more land and land is always expensive.

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(Nods) Especially in the places where new transport is needed the most: big cities. By default, these places are already considerably built up so it poses a real problem regarding transportation: trying to cram the 13th egg in a carton only made for 12. Plus Americans attitude toward trains is mixed, particularly regarding arbitrary transportation needs (which can only be met with a personal car).

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hmv

Really?

I must imagine regularly travelling by train on a line that carries much freight then. Must stop eating blue cheese.

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Sounds like you're one of the lucky ones. I'm by no means an expert on the situation but freight generally runs happily on single track, passenger doesn't. See http://www.economist.com/node/16636101?zid=302&ah=601e2c69a87aadc0cc0ca4f3fbc1d354

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Ummmmm

"Shifting cargo is going to be the first stage of Hyperloop One's plans"

The only economic way of moving cargo is pack once, repack never.

That means they need to be able to carry "normal" seafreight containers - NOT repacking those contents into airline ones.

I've been saying this for a while. The proposed tubes are too small in diameter (not the prototype ones in the video - those are even smaller than the current proposed finished product diameter)

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Re: Ummmmm

There's also the matter of their physical dimension (long and oblong) which makes transporting them along an enclosed tube very difficult. Plus cargo transport usually doesn't have a middle ground. If time is important, you normally just fly it. Otherwise, you can be patient which means it's easier just to haul it by freight train which is open-air (so easy to load and unload), well-developed, and already with an existing infrastructure and support system to handle it all: no additional expenditure needed.

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Pint

It's an IQ Test.

Anyone that can't immediately see that it's a fundamentally stupid concept....fails.

Clearly Musk is an alien. His Human Harvesting Spaceships must be nearby.

The only question is: Will they be gathering up the dumb ones (those mindlessly defending Hyperloop with empty platitudes as 'solutions' to the objections) to use as fertilizer on some distant dusty planet, or the smart ones to use as breeding stock?

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Pint

Re: It's an IQ Test.

$6 billion for one route.

Even at just 10% amortization, that's over $1,000 per MINUTE just to service the capital.

Taking into account the inevitable cost overruns, staff, maintenance, peaky demand cycles, insurance, other costs, it'll be at least $10,000 per minute.

It's fundamentally unaffordable.

Cover the planet with such tubes? There's literally not enough wealth on Earth ($240T) for that.

Stupid concept.

Ballistic hurling of capsules into a big net at the far end actually would make more sense. Which is to say, none at all.

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Anonymous Coward

surrealism much ?

five of the six "related articles" are all on the topic of 'virtual reality' ....

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Monorail

Monorail, monorail, monorail

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Vacuum implosions

Can't help thinking this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz95_VvTxZM

would happen once some git inevitably crashes into the loop.

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Public money

You're not going to get public money for transit in the US without a plan to carry the Mobility impaired passenger.

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Re: Public money

Yup, despite their love of cars even the roads are crumbling.

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Devil

Ski ramp at end?

If it doesn't take off commercially, maybe have a siding that points up, launch passengers into low orbit?

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Re: Ski ramp at end?

You don't need the ski ramp, just enough speed. A high peak with a long ridge to the west would be best.

Manual Garcia O'Kelly Davis goes over all of this in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". They also have an underground ballistic subway.

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Facepalm

Meanwhile, in the real world.....

estimate..........comes in at $6bn....

Add 10 years and another 12bn for the NIMBY planning objections, protests, court cases, removing crusty tossers from construction sites, etc ad nauseum.

The days when you could build a railway and actually have people be fucking grateful for it are, sadly, long gone.

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Re: Meanwhile, in the real world.....

You'll also get massive cost overrun because it's never been done before. Yes, putting rockets into space is rocket science and space is a notoriously harsh environment, but at least it doesn't have weather.

A near vacuum tube between LA and SF is going to have to put up with a lot of shit and on projects like this it's often the little things that over time cause the most problems. On the Cologne-Frankfurt lines it was problems with toilets and air conditioning that caused the most problems.

I do like the basic idea of Hyperloop – trying to displace as little air as possible – I wonder if there isn't some kind of halfway house using some kind of fairing with a maglev system. As for the proposed line – I'm not sure that LA - SF really is the route to be looked at: how many people really want to travel between downtown LA and downtown SF? Highspeed rail has excelled at shrinking the commute so something that halved the current journey time on Caltrain between Gilroy and SF and the same for LA's dormitories would be transformational. Of course, this requires all kind of ancillary investment to make using the new lines easier.

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Better use a Shweeb

That is a bicycle powered monorail

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Perhaps a little too much

1G acceleration? That's a lot of coffees down the front of a lot of suits...

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Anonymous Coward

A series of tubes

Finally some invents the real internet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A series of tubes

Finally someONE invents the real internet.

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Boffin

Objections, objections...

I expect that when the first caveman floated across a river on a log, all the local pundits derided the whole thing because they didn't see any quick ROI on it. Of course they were right, and maritime navigation never did the human race any good. Right?

If we could go back in time to when railroads were first invented, I'm morally certain there were the same sort of nay-sayers around pointing out many difficulties in using railroads:

High expense of acquiring land right-of-way

High cost/availability of fuel

High cost of laying track

High cost of maintaining/replacing track

Many, many water/terrain obstacles and high cost/time taken to build bridges

Mountains! Many are too steep to go over, and it would cost a real packet to try to make a tunnel through one, if it were even possible, which it clearly is NOT.

Yet all these obstacles, and many others, were overcome by genius engineers. Hyperloop will probably have some of those working for them, too.

Some of the the objections to hyperloop seem questionable to me. Even I can think up some at least plausible answers to them. I expect real engineers could do a lot better than I can. So let's look at some that I can think of answers to:

Low passenger volume due to each capsule operating separately. Why couldn't you hook multiple hyperloop capsules together into a long, uh, TRAIN? Just because they can operate independently doesn't mean they must.

Stations: These would be open air platforms, just like train stations. Several hundred passengers could board/leave the train in one minute.

Time to evacuate the tube: Once loaded, the train would go into an airlock. You could have many air tight doors. The train would go into the tube and right up to the door leading into low pressure. The station would then close the door closest to the rear of the train, then open the "front" door. Since the train would fit fairly closely into the tunnel, and little space would be left behind and in front of the train, the air volume inside the "airlock" would be insignificant and just vented into the tunnel. (Tunnels would need to have vacuum pumps running all the time, anyhow, because of leaks, etc.)

Braking: normally electromagnetic, but in an emergency (say, a power failure), the train would drop, and the guides would contact the rail. You'd get metal-to-metal braking just like trains use. Not sustainable for constant use (at least, not without a lot of maintenance), but it works fine in an emergency.

High G forces: Why use high G's? Right now they're playing around and showing concepts. Yes, it accelerates fast. But in real use, except for emergency braking, the acceleration and deceleration could use forces no higher than than passengers normally encounter in an airliner.

There are always issues, questions, and sometimes serious problems to be solved in any major endeavor. But these can often be overcome.

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Re: Objections, objections...

You're entering into the same fallacious argument posed by others here, which goes:

"If you are against X, then by definition you are wrong because new things that were hard turned out to be easy"

This isn't actually a guide to anything. Instead of hyperloop, let's say I came up with something called "Para-bol". The parabol service is better even than hyperloop. It will deliver you from a "launch station" to anywhere within half a planet's distance in the same time as it takes to launch and deliver a nuclear warhead.

Only the "luddites" are saying that it'll cost a lot and all the people who enter a launch station find that they've died very shortly after the start of the journey.

At this point, people like you come in with your quotes about cars needing a bloke with a red flag, and if they could sort out the tin-opener, then surely Para-bol has a future.

Or not.

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Re: Objections, objections...

"If you are against X, then by definition you are wrong because new things that were hard turned out to be easy"

Well no - they still proved to be hard, and in many cases still are hard even though they have solutions that have been used for decades.

Spaceflight is a good example.

Perhaps all the issues raised by people on this thread are all completely unsolvable; perhaps some are but not in a satisfactory way; perhaps some can be solved, or solved in a better way, by changes to other parts of society and environment.

Public & private investment money gets wasted on far worse and worthless things than a high-speed transit system that can be wholly powered by non-fossil fuels, and can potentially reduce car and air transport use over medium-long distances but hey, I know from being here a long time that EngineerReg seems to be comprised of people who really don't like new ideas if they personally can't see a solution to the issues at hand.

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This test looks suspiciously like one from 64 years ago but far far less impressive. The test also had some very interesting G forces measured, and it was manned.

December 10th 1954

A sled powered by 40,000 lbs of thrust from 9 solid fuel rockets

0 to 632 MPH in 5 seconds

632 to 0 MPH in 1.4 seconds, more than 45Gs

I would guess that there were less Gs on the acceleration phase

Done by John Paul Stapp. Blood vessels in his eyes burst, cracked ribs, both wrists broken. He recovered and wanted to do 1000MPH but the USAF said "nope".

Hyperloop? Pah, it's for sissies.

http://www.popsci.com/blog-network/vintage-space/john-paul-stapp-real-life-rocket-sled-man

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Happy

Gravity...

I can drop a fridge off a building and that'll reach 87mph in 4 seconds.

Can I have $6bn please?

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