A few weeks back, Hyperloop One revealed a prototype of a pod that it hopes will eventually ferry passengers through near-vacuum tubes at around the speed of sound. Today, the company has announced the first successful tests of this futuristic capsule, in which it levitated above a test track en route to speeds of more than 300 km/h.
Hyperloop One is one of a growing contingent of startups vying to make Elon Musk’s tube-based transport concept a reality, with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
among its competitors. Such a system would see networks of low-pressure tubes shuttle people and cargo around in magnetically levitated pods at around 1,200 km/h, traveling from LA to San Francisco in just 30 minutes.
Today’s announcement follows what the company called Phase 1 trials last month, where it tested all of its system components for the first time on a specially built sled. This included things like the motor, vehicle suspension, magnetic levitation technology and vacuum pumping system. The reveal of its prototype pod, the XP-1, accompanied that announcement.
The pod is 8.7 m long, 2.7 m wide and 2.4 m tall (28.5 x 8.9 x 7.9 ft), and features a shell made from carbon fiber panels. The chassis is made from structural aluminum and contains the propulsion system and magnets for levitation and guidance. Hyperloop One says it is designed like a Formula One car – to be lightweight but strong.