I love the idea of a Hyperloop. I find transportation fascinating in that we flock to a place in order to take a bus, a train or a plane. Then that particular mode of transportation takes a bunch of people to a specific destination. Yes, I just summarized transportation in a nutshell, but I don’t think we talk about it enough. Or even think about the kind of planning that goes into making sure that people can get around. For the most part, I drive everywhere. I drive to work. I drive for work. I even drive hundreds of miles to see my long distance boyfriend. Yes, I could opt to take a plane to see him, and I certainly could consider public transit to get to work. But I don’t, because it’s faster to drive. Or it gives me more control.
But a system like a Hyperloop could change a lot of that. Maybe not for me, but for a lot of people. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has unveiled its vision for a passenger capsule that will take people all over the world. The company has unveiled its first pod – known as the Quintero One. Now that this vehicle has been shown to the world it will be sent to HTT’s European headquarters in France for “additional assembly and integration”. They expect that the Quintero One will be in service in a fully working commercial system at some point in the future.
What we don’t know is how the pod will work. But some of the specifications the company has revealed do shed a light on how they were thinking. For example, Quintero One measures 32 meters (105 feet) long, with the passenger cabin measuring 15 meters (50 feet). We can assume that the propulsion, life support, and other systems are buried both in the nose cone and behind the smaller passenger compartment. We don’t know how many people HTT expects to seat in every pod, but its dimensions roughly correspond to a New York Subway car. A 15.6-meter R188 Car has a maximum capacity of 188, which includes a significant number of standing passengers.
Which means a fully seated pod could comfortably carry about 80 people – give or take. The company says that it’s worth thinking about the pod like an airplane without wings. Which does make sense, given the fact that it requires a lot of aerospace engineering in order to make it work. Both HTT and Airtificial (a partnership between aerospace companies Carbures and Inypsa) say that the pod is a landmark piece of engineering. Airtificial co-founder Rafael Contreras added that, because the pod uses an unprecedented amount of carbon fiber and composites it’s in its construction, it’s the “safest transportation vehicle in the world.”
But is this something that people will want to use? I kind of think so. I honestly think that people will get benefit out of this. There is one proposed Hyperloop that would take people from one particular place in Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium. While helpful during the baseball season, that particular route isn’t going to be that well used by people year round. But if cities can work with the technology developers to implement this into their infrastructure, I think it will be highly successful.