Heard about Hyperloop? Nah? Don’t worry, it’s a future transportation system concept that is the brainchild of Tesla motors’ and SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk. Hyperloop is a technology which utilizes vacuum in a tube to drastically reduce air drag and hence increase the speed of a pod that travels inside it. It was proposed back in 2013 and in 2015, teams from all around the world were asked to participate in the development of a sustainable pod design that could be used to travel inside the vacuum tube. The final design is expected to travel a distance of 350 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just 35 minutes at around 900 kilometers per hour. That’s airplane speed in train fare. And that is what this is whole idea is about.
The teams were selected on the basis of a preliminary design briefing in November 2015 for SpaceX’s Design Weekend to be held later this month in at Texas A&M University. Having the idea to be a part of something big, a student team from LUMS’ science and engineering school, called HyperLUMS also took part in this and got selected on the basis of their design. The team will be presenting their final idea at the Design Weekend competing against around 120 teams from universities all over the world such as MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell and participants from 16 different countries.
The teams that make it through Design Weekend will be invited to build a small scale prototype version of the Hyperloop pod in June 2016 at the Competition Weekend in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX will provide a 1 mile test track to test teams’ pods. While it is very efficient, it may be the next big thing in transportation worldwide. Just as you may thinking right now, the idea does sound crazy and seems more fiction than reality. But so did electric cars and a reusable rocket which Tesla and SpaceX respectively have developed.
If you are thinking about it’s prospects in Pakistan, well the technology is in developmental phase, but keeping in view the pace of it and our Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s speed and his current interest in projects like metro bus and orange train, it might not be that impossible. The student team from LUMS is the only team from Pakistan and we appreciate them for the work they are doing. We expect them them to make our country proud and wish them the best of luck.