Posts tagged with "Hyperloop":

Texas’s $15 billion Bullet Train on track to roll out next year

It’s no hyperloop, but construction of a 200-mile-per-hour bullet train from Houston to Dallas could begin as early as next year. Add in the recently announced Amtrak partnership that will cover last-mile trips and tie into the rail company’s established interstate network, and Texas is looking at a major mass transit expansion. Developers Texas Central Partners (TCP) will be privately financing the $15 billion, 240-mile-long high-speed rail line, and have been on a public outreach spree as they attempt to drum up support and garner feedback for their proposal. TCP argues that the Texas Bullet Train will bring in $3 billion in state and local tax revenue through 2040, in addition to the $36 billion in direct spending; not to mention the tens of thousands of projected construction jobs. TCP is still hashing out the exact station locations but are planning on building the 60-acre Dallas stop south of the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, with a footbridge from the station to the convention center. On the other side of the 90-minute trip in Houston, TCP has chosen the city’s Northwest Mall as the preferred location for their station. The mall site will give way to a 45-acre, multi-level train complex with easy access to I-610 and U.S. 290. Additional stops between the two cities, such as in the city of Byran/College Station, have already been confirmed. Still, not everyone is on board with the rail plan, and landowners along the proposed route have fought and lobbied their state legislators over the company possible use of eminent domain to acquire their property. TCP has outlined their process for picking up the required properties, including offering market value for parcels in the Bullet Train’s path and pledging to minimize the impact on landowners. That hasn’t stopped the opposition from filing a flurry of bullet train bills in the state Senate, though only two of the proposed twenty measures managed to pass. As a result the state will not use taxpayer fund for the project, a move that TCP did not oppose. The free-market funding requirement hasn’t slowed the Bullet Train's progress down, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), a subsection of the United States Department of Transportation, has given the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) the green light. The FRA also proposed an optimal route that would disrupt the least amount of people, and engineering and construction firms WSP, Fluor, Bechtel, and Lane Construction are now all helping to lay the groundwork for the project’s eventual construction. The Amtrak tie-in certainly won’t hurt the project’s chances, but high-speed rail remains notoriously expensive. Although high-speed rail has historically floundered in the U.S., such as the $77 billion north-south bullet train currently under construction in California, TCP's business plan, and the use of private funds, combined with the high level of government support, has helped the project avoid the hurdles plaguing similar projects. "We are working on the train every day," said TCP spokesperson Holly Reed. "This is the right project being done the right way at the right time -  the Texas Way. That means it will be the safest way to travel in the world, built and operated based on data-driven decisions from free market principles and no state appropriations. Texas is proving again to be a leader in transportation, and the train is a key tool in the state’s infrastructure toolbox as a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly option that efficiently will move our growing population."

Elon Musk wants to turn the Hyperloop’s “excavated muck” into housing materials

Hot off of a flamethrower fundraising sale for Elon Musk’s side project, the Hyperloop tunnel digging The Boring Company, Musk has announced that the muck, rock, and detritus produced by the company’s tunneling would be turned into usable bricks. The first announcement from Musk came on March 26, when he tweeted that the rock mined from the company’s California test tunnels would be turned into “Lifesize LEGO-like interlocking bricks made from tunneling rock that you can use to create sculptures & buildings.” The bricks would be sold as The Boring Company merchandise and are supposedly rated for California’s seismic loads. Responding to critics on Twitter who were wondering why the tech entrepreneur wasn’t using his vast wealth to address the nationwide housing crisis, Musk followed up on May 7, indicating that those same bricks would now be sold on the cheap for low-cost housing. A Boring Company representative confirmed the plans to Bloomberg, saying that the bricks used for housing would be made from the “excavated muck” of the company’s tunnels. These bricks would also go towards building any future Boring Company offices and could partially replace concrete in The Boring Company’s tunnels. Of course, as Bloomberg points out, Musk’s plan to lower the cost of housing assumes that material costs are driving the price of construction, and not land or labor. Brick is expensive to lay because of the associated time and expertise it takes, not the bricks themselves (and this is before factoring in any type of structural reinforcement). It remains to be seen if The Boring Company can produce enough blocks to actually build any homes, especially as many of the prospective Hyperloop tunnels would be churning out dirt contaminated from years of industrial runoff.

Foster + Partners teams up with Virgin Hyperloop One for blazing fast freight proposal

British studio Foster + Partners has released a proposal for a futuristic hyperloop freight system that could one day ship cargo from Dubai to Asia and Europe. The renderings and accompanying video were produced in collaboration with Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One, and the resultant system has been christened DP World Cargospeed. Cargo would be autonomously loaded into autonomously driven pods that appear to closely resemble the passenger pods Virgin revealed in February, and accelerated up to 700 miles per hour using hyperloop technology. The electrically-powered pods are moved through tunnels that have had the air pumped out, removing any wind resistance. From the video, it seems that Foster + Partners is aiming for an integrated, multi-modal shipping solution. Cargo is unloaded portside and brought into the nearby hyperloop loading area, while trucks, autonomous shuttles, and drones are could be potentially used to handle last-mile delivery. Everything feeds into an electric ecosystem, with solar panels on the hyperloop’s tunnels (and station) feeding the movement below. The shipping program would be an outgrowth of Virgin’s partnership with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, and the 75-mile-long Dubai-Abu Dhabi hyperloop stretch could be online as soon as 2020. BIG’s concentric transport hubs, one in each city, will eventually anchor the route and house autonomous Virgin shuttles. While DP World Cargospeed is currently nothing more than a few polished images, with Virgin preparing to lay hyperloop tubes in India, a cross-continental shipping network that latches on to the commuter system could eventually be in the cards. As the video’s narrator describes it, DP World Cargospeed would start off as a system for high-priority goods ordered on-demand, with the higher cost of shipping offsetting the higher infrastructure costs. Still, Virgin hopes that it can get the cost “as low as trucking, with the speed of air delivery”.

Elon Musk to bypass environmental review for test tunnel in L.A.

Billionaire Elon Musk and his Boring Company are moving forward with plans to build an underground network of personal vehicle tunnels below the streets of Los Angeles.  After drilling a preliminary tunnel below the Tesla and SpaceX company headquarters in nearby Hawthorne, California, the company is now moving forward with an additional 2.7-mile “proof-of-concept” tunnel for a “zero-emissions, high-speed, underground, alternative means of transit for personal vehicles and/or single-rider use” that will run under Sepulveda Boulevard on L.A.’s Westside. The test tunnel will begin at 2352-2356 South Sepulveda Boulevard, a property owned by The Boring Company, Urbanize.LA reports. From there, it will run roughly 30-70 feet below ground to an area below the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City. The tunnel will not daylight at this point, according to initial documentation.   The tunneling depth will allow the engineers to avoid underground utilities and other potential obstructions and is subject to change as conditions closer to the surface permit. Though the route has been vetted for the potential existence of archeological and paleontological materials, plans for independent monitors will be put in place should any sensitive resources be discovered over the course of work on the tunnel. In order to build the tunnel, The Boring Company has received a preliminary reprieve from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) restrictions at the behest of the Los Angeles City Council, which will also take up the final approval for the concept on behalf of the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering if the test tunnels are successful. Further sections beyond the test tunnel will be subject to a variety of environmental and community reviews.  The test tunnels will not be available for public use and will be used solely for testing of a proposed “skate” technology that could eventually be used to ferry automobiles and passengers throughout the system.  The test tunnel is expected to be completed in nine months; a final timeline for approval and construction of a usable tunnel has not yet been released. 

Elon Musk does a 180 on mass transit and makes Hyperloop buses his first priority

The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s Hyperloop tunnel-digging side company, may have a new mission after Musk claimed that he would be shifting towards expanding mass transit. Although research into digging a traffic-bypassing “urban loop” under Los Angeles will continue, Musk tweeted that instead of moving cars and personal pods, the Hyperloop network would focus on moving 150-mile-per-hour buses before anything else. The Hyperloop system has been proposed–though nothing has been built yet–as an underground transit network where small levitating pods would be accelerated up to hundreds of miles an hour through a vacuum to eliminate air resistance. Where the Hyperloop differs from high-speed rail is that Musk has proposed scattering Hyperloop entrances along connecting cities more akin to subway stops rather than train halls, and that it was more for “personal transit”. In a string of tweets last Friday, Musk appeared to change his tune, saying that, “Adjusting The Boring Company plan: all tunnels & Hyperloop will prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars.” He then explained that the tunnels “will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met. It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first.” Musk also released a new video of the theoretical system in action, showing a bus-sized transit pod descending into a tunnel and reaching speeds up to 150 miles per hour. The move is a surprising one from Musk, who has publicly railed against mass transportation in the past. “It’s a pain in the ass,” Musk told the audience at a Tesla event in Long Beach, California last year. “That’s why everyone doesn’t like it. And there’s like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer, OK, great. And so that’s why people like individualized transport, that goes where you want, when you want.” It may also be a response to the extreme backlash the tech mogul received from transit planners and advocates afterwards, many of whom he got down in the dirt with and called “idiots”. While Musk’s fans applauded the decision, skeptics pointed out that repositioning the Hyperloop’s mission towards public transit garners the company good will from the municipalities that The Boring company needs permission from for the Hyperloop. Though Musk has promised that the D.C.-New York Hyperloop route would follow a similar model, actual construction on any network is years away, even if the project can gain the local and federal approvals needed.

Virgin Hyperloop One debuts prototype travel pods in Dubai

What if you could cut the travel time between two cities from a an hour's drive to less than 15 minutes? That's Virgin Hyperloop One's plan for a high-tech, high-speed autonomous transportation system that could one day link Abu Dhabi and Dubai. And now, with the unveiling of a prototype design for the pods that will carry commuters at nearly the speed of sound through low-pressure tubes using magnetic levitation, the plan is inching closer to reality. The first hyperloop pod prototype, created by Virgin Hyperloop One in conjunction with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), debuted last week as part of UAE Innovation Month, and it gives travelers the first sense of what a trip on the future 'loop might really look like. And, no surprise given that Richard Branson is a major investor, the vibe is very Virgin: sleek, modern, and bathed in moody colored light. The dream of hyperloop transportation has been one of tech's most hyped ideas since Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk proposed the idea with a white paper back in 2013. While the billionaire entrepreneur is not involved with this particular project, Virgin Hyperloop One has big plans of its own for the developing technology, including other on-demand travel networks linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Mumbai to Pune. Along with its high speed, the hyperloop is contained underground and completely autonomous, which may be a major factor in reaching the RTA's goal of making as many as 25 percent of travel in Dubai driverless by 2030. The Dubai-Abu Dhabi hyperloop is expected to one day transport up to 10,000 people per hour between the two Emirati hubs, which are located about 75 miles apart, when it opens to the public, which could be as early as 2020. The Emirati hyperloop will be anchored by a B.I.G.–designed transport hub, making it clear that even when you take time out of the travel equation, things can still still look mighty futuristic.

Hyperloop startup Arrivo to bring 200mph system to Denver

High-speed transport is no longer a myth of the future. Yesterday, Los Angeles-based hyperloop engineering company, Arrivo, announced its partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation to build a test track facility in the Denver Metro area. The company aims to break ground on the test site in early 2018 and plans to have a fully operating public transportation system in place by 2021.   The Arrivo transportation concept consists of creating a network of roadways which will shuffle cars, people, and freight on platforms traveling at speeds of 200 miles per hour. That is, not just pods, but individual private vehicles can take advantage of the roadways. The system will rely on individual autonomous platforms being propelled by electric power and magnetic levitation within a road-side track. Unlike the Hyperloop concept forwarded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, cars will not travel in a near-vacuum state through low-pressure tubes, although a tube will be put in place to cut the wind resistance. This plan removes the need to build an expensive tubeway system on pylons or underground.  Arrivo's agenda will be focused on local, short-distance commutes as well, unlike Hyperloop One's long-distance proposals. Speculative routes plan to link popular locations such as downtown Denver to the international airport on the outskirts of the city, as well as linking Denver's city center to Boulder's city center. Through Arrivo's transportation network, both these trips, which currently take about an hour by traditional highway travel, would be decreased to commute times of under 10 minutes. Denver is a natural fit for a high-speed travel test facility. In recent years, Colorado has been among the nation's fastest-growing states, with the population influx putting a strain on infrastructure and plaguing cities with traffic. A 360-mile loop in the state, with Denver as one of the nodes, was also selected in the Hyperloop One global challenge. In the upcoming year, Arrivo plans to invest $10 to $15 million into the test track and engineering technology centers throughout the region.

Here are the 10 winners of Hyperloop One’s global challenge

Are we one step closer to zipping around in pods at hundreds of miles per hour? One company would like us to think so. Hyperloop One announced last week that 10 winners have been selected in their global competition for potential Hyperloop routes. The hyperloop was the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. Musk proposed the hyperloop as a form of passenger and freight transportation in which pods travel at incredible speeds through nearly frictionless tubes, essentially allowing for Jetson-like travel between cities at a highly reduced time. The CEO and founder of Hyperloop One, Shervin Pishevar, met Musk during a 2013 humanitarian trip to Cuba and presented Musk's white paper on the Hyperloop to President Obama only months later. Less than a year after that, Pishevar had founded his own company, Hyperloop Technologies, Inc. (now Hyperloop One), in a garage. Mobilizing his extensive background in venture capital to get the project off the ground, he has already funded one of the world's first full-scale systems test of a Hyperloop project on a test track in the Nevada desert. The company announced its selection of 10 winning teams from a pool of  35 semi-finalists. The winners demonstrated the "strongest routes" for potential Hyperloop lines. The list will not seem intuitive to many, but below are the routes that were selected. United States
  • Chicago-­Columbus-­Pittsburgh 488 miles, proposed travel time: 47 minutes
  • Dallas-Laredo-Houston 640 miles, proposed travel time: 46 minutes
  • Cheyenne-Denver-Pueblo 360 miles
  • Miami-Orlando 257 miles, proposed travel time: 25 minutes
Canada
  • Toronto-Montreal 400 miles, proposed travel time: 39 minutes
United Kingdom
  • Edinburgh-London 414 miles, proposed travel time: 50 minutes
  • Glasgow-Liverpool 339 miles, proposed travel time: 47 minutes
Mexico
  • Mexico City-Guadalajara 330 miles, proposed travel time: 38 minutes
India
  • Bengaluru-Chennai 208 miles, proposed travel time: 23 minutes
  • Mumbai-­Chennai 685 miles, proposed travel time: 63 minutes
Why did a route from Cheyenne to Pueblo win, you may ask, rather than one that connected San Francisco to Los Angeles or New York to D.C.? In Hyperloop One's global competition, the latter two routes weren't proposed to begin with, for what we can only speculate are political reasons. Both are routes that Musk has talked openly about his proposals for creating under the auspices of two companies he's CEO of – SpaceX and Tesla. According to Hyperloop One's website, however, the Colorado route would support the state's "population growth and emerging industry sectors," such as biotechnology, technology and aerospace. The route between Bengaluru and Chennai would support an industrial corridor that is becoming "one of the fastest growing economic regions in India." The link between Edinburgh and London even aims to – by the company's humble claim – "reduce the country’s socioeconomic inequalities and rebalance growth in the region." Of course, behind such grandiose language there's a much more complicated story. The selection of winning routes entails no commitment to actual construction in the future, but rather to technical and feasibility studies to see whether each of the proposed projects are economically feasible and commercially viable. AECOM will serve as an engineering consultant for the Colorado route. A vital question remains: Who is Hyperloop for? Surely a form of transportation with such astronomical construction costs won't be cheaper than an Amtrak ticket, and the company hasn't detailed its ticket pricing plans. Some skeptics have argued that if Hyperloop One had any real commitment to equity in transportation, maybe those same funds would be better reallocated to repairing the nation's existing, decaying infrastructure. Those who have experienced the New York City metro system's "summer of hell" will probably understand this argument intimately.

Elon Musk says N.Y.-D.C. Hyperloop has government approval

Elon Musk tweeted earlier this morning that he received government approval to start building a New York-Philadelphia-Baltimore-D.C Hyperloop, as reported by engadget. His series of tweets indicate that while The Boring Company, the infrastructure and tunneling company that Musk founded, received “verbal” government approval, there are still steps to be made before getting formal approval. If the project is actually approved, construction will begin in conjunction with the company’s other talked-about project: underground tunnels in L.A. that aim to relieve vehicular congestion.

Musk is already plotting future connections elsewhere, too. One of his follow-up tweets reveals that the next Hyperloop would likely be an L.A-San Francisco track, and maybe even a Texas loop (Dallas-Houston-San Antonio-Austin).

A Hyperloop in the Northeast Corridor could do wonders for the deteriorating rail infrastructure at New York’s Pennsylvania Station, which has resulted in a “summer of hell.” Right now, a regular Amtrak train between New York and Washington D.C takes approximately three and a half hours; the same trip is two-and-a-half on the Acela Express. With a Hyperloop, however, it will only take 29 minutes.

Apparently, local officials in charge of the cities involved were not looped into the conversation; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary tweeted that “this is news to City Hall.”

It’s unclear who Musk received this verbal approval from, though it is likely someone from the Trump administration (where he briefly served as one of President Trump’s advisors), according to CNBC. It will take numerous hurdles before Musk can even begin drilling a hole; he would need approval from the federal Department of Transportation, not to mention the various states, counties, cities, and elected officials.

Hyperloop One releases map of 11 semifinalist Hyperloops in U.S.

The second round of the Hyperloop Global Challenge concluded last Wednesday, and Hyperloop One has compiled a map of the 11 proposed Hyperloops in the United States to show us just how connected we could be. The semifinalists’ proposals connect Las Vegas to Reno in 42 minutes and Denver to Boulder in five minutes, to name two examples. For those who don’t know, Hyperloop is a new kind of infrastructure currently in development that will “move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket,” according to the Hyperloop One website. Using electric motors and low-pressure tubes, Hyperloop One hopes to shoot you across the country in levitated pods. If you think this model strongly resembles the pneumatic tubes used at bank drive-thru’s to deposit checks, then you are not alone.
The hyperloop concept is efficient, environmentally friendly, and something out of your sci-fi dreams, but even more enticing is that it is actually happening. Hyperloop One has just completed installing a 500-meter-long prototype tube, called the DevLoop, on their property in the deserts of Las Vegas. It is the company’s first complete test track, but will not be the last. In the coming months, Hyperloop One will conduct their first trials of the complete pod-in-tube system before moving on to build other test centers in countries around the world. They believe they can be moving cargo in completed Hyperloops by 2020 and moving passengers by 2021. The Hyperloop Global Challenge will announce the teams moving on to the final round of competition in May. In the meantime, you can visit this poll to vote on which of the proposed routes will impact you the most.

Woodbury University team proposes L.A. to Mexico Hyperloop system

A proposal by a group of Woodbury University School of Architecture–affiliated architects has been named among one of the 35 semi-finalists for the Hyperloop One Global Challenge competition aimed at generating pilot projects to deploy the next-generation transportation technology. According to the Hyperloop One website, competition organizers were seeking to teams that would “put forward a comprehensive commercial, transport, economic, and policy case for their cities, regions, or countries to be considered to host the first hyperloop networks.” The Woodbury University team’s proposal—generated by a collective made up of Woodbury University adjunct faculty Rene Peralta, architect Alejandro Santander of Estudio Santander in Tijuana, Mexico, and Woodbury alumnus Juan Alatorre—aims to connect the Southern California region via Hyperloop. The team envisions utilizing the technology to cut travel times between Los Angeles and Ensenada, Mexico down to roughly 20 minutes. The trip currently takes about five hours to complete via automobile. The Woodbury University team will present their work in Washington, D.C. on April 5th as part of the second round of the competition. Teams that make it to the final round will be announced in May of this year. Hyperloop One has received 2,600 competition submissions in the five months since the competition was announced. Teams representing 17 countries are among the other groups vying for the winning proposal, including 11 teams from the United States, five teams from India, and four from the United Kingdom. Describing the submissions received for the competition, Rob Lloyd, CEO, Hyperloop One said, “The Hyperloop One Global Challenge unleashed ideas from some of the world’s most creative engineers and planners, who care as much as we do about the future of transportation.” Lloyd added that the potential for the technology went beyond fulfilling simple transportation needs, saying, “These are all solutions that can make a real and immediate social and economic impact.”

BIG releases more information on ultra-fast Hyperloop One

After teasing audiences with a 170-second-long video last month, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled further information on its collaboration with Elon Musk's Hyperloop One, a super high-speed transit network in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With expected travel times of just 12 minutes between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the route would slash current car journey times of two hours between the cities. It's a tantalizing prospect and BIG has been working on the project since May of this year. The firm has developed concepts for autonomous point-to-point travel including Hyperloop One's transport portals and pods while also working on a feasibility study financed by the Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA). The plan so far involves a pods—capable of carrying humans and freight—traveling in excess of 680 miles per hour through pressurized tubes that would stretch between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These pods will carry six people and would be part of a zero-emission electric propulsion system. Speed is also a concern relative to passenger circulation outside the pods. "All elements of the travel experience are designed to increase convenience and reduce interruptions," BIG said in a statement. "The main objective of the design is to eliminate waiting from the passenger experience." BIG's designs for the portals build on a study that looked at inter-city transport network integration with existing infrastructure and population density in the two cities. As a result, the firm's proposal involves easily identifiable departure gates that passengers can swiftly access. While pods may be small in size, BIG explained that their frequency rate of arrival and departure would cater to high demand. Pods would also be able to operate autonomously away from the pressurized tubes, meaning they could travel on regular roads. "Together with BIG, we have worked on a seamless experience that starts the moment you think about being somewhere—not going somewhere,” said Josh Giegel, president of engineering of Hyperloop One, in a press release. “We don’t sell cars, boats, trains, or planes. We sell time.” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, added: “With Hyperloop One we have given form to a mobility ecosystem of pods and portals, where the waiting hall has vanished along with waiting itself. Hyperloop One combines collective commuting with individual freedom at near supersonic speed," he said. "We are heading for a future where our mental map of the city is completely reconfigured, as our habitual understanding of distance and proximity—time and space—is warped by this virgin form of travel.”