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Hyperloop One Conducts First Full Test Of Its High-Speed System But Only Traveled 70 MPH

Image via Hyperloop One

You see that? The flattened, levitating vehicle of sorts, flying down a tube. That’s the future, folks, operated by Hyperloop One, which announced on Wednesday that it had completed the first full systems Hyperloop test.

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In the test, Hyperloop says it’s vehicle traveled the first portion of a track using magnetic levitation in a vacuum environment, and reached 70 mph. It’s a significant leap past the company’s test a year ago, which sent a sled down a track for a grand total of two seconds.

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And while that’s not the lighting-fast speed that Hyperloop Ones says it’s futurist transport system could go, the company says this test—conducted privately on May 12—is only Phase 1. Hyperloop One’s in the process of the next phase, now aiming for 250 mph.

Photo: Hyperloop
Photo: Hyperloop

“By achieving full vacuum, we essentially invented our own sky in a tube, as if you’re flying at 200,000 feet in the air,” said Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Hyperloop One. “For the first time in over 100 years, a new mode of transportation has been introduced. Hyperloop is real, and it’s here now.”

That statement means nothing, given the regulatory mile-high hurdles that Hyperloop needs to overcome if it wants to achieve the near-impossible goal of launching three routes in the U.S. by 2021. The practicality of the system seems questionable, and I’m not exactly sure a new mode of transportation is needed when we can’t even support the transit infrastructure we have now.

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But look at the happy faces below. The vehicle moved, and nothing exploded. That alone is a victory.

Hyperloop One says it’ll continue to conduct test runs at the company’s DevLoop track in Nevada, and the next phase will show the system’s pod moving longer distances at faster speeds.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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DISCUSSION

FiveDollarBaller

I attended a presentation by their chief engineer recently. The obstacles this company faces are huge.
How do you maintain vacuum system integrity, cost-effectively, in a system this size. Any here had the joy of chasing vacuum leaks?
How do you ensure human safety in a vacuum environment?
How do you suppress high-voltage corona discharge in a vacuum?
Can they obtain the rights of way to build their infrastructure? Can they get the cash to even build it?
They still haven’t figured out how to switch tracks. Their service on demand model doesn’t make any sense. I can’t imagine these guys could burn cash faster if they threw it into a bonfire.