The first successful test of Hyperloop One’s propulsion technology proved a lot this morning. On display was proof that Elon Musk’s dream of a transportation system that breaks the barriers of speed and time was a step closer to reality. Also on display was proof that the future will still be boring.
I’m not sure any of those invited out to see the small-scale demonstration of the Hyperloop’s propulsion technology really knew what to expect. Full disclosure: I wasn’t invited. What they saw ended up being a grounded electromagnetic motor launching a weighted sled down a track into a pile of sand. The initial reaction was... flat.
Of course we only have ourselves to blame here. What Hyperloop One is accomplishing is unprecedented. As Gizmodo’s Alissa Walker pointed out today, the test signifies a project one step closer to realizing a low-pressure electromagnetic propulsion transportation system.
We should be excited! Read those words again; they sound smart and important. A low-pressure electromagnetic propulsion transportation system called the Hyperloop. And at the end of the day, specifically today, those who expected some floating beacon of a glamorous sci-fi future came back with something resembling a short, flat roller-coaster that couldn’t stop itself.
But the reality of the hyperloop concept is developing a transportation method that surpasses the discomforts and limitations of the car, train, and airplane. Nobody ever said it would be sexy. It just sounded like it would be.
Ultimately the future will still be just as boring as a ten hour car journey, or a lengthy and slow train ride, or cramming yourself onto an airplane. Except with the hyperloop you’ll be in a windowless tube travelling 700 miles per hour. You wont even get the sounds and rattles of a train on the track or a plane taking off. In the future, real windows will be a luxury.
The next step for Hyperloop One’s progress is reportedly a full prototype by the end of the year, which should be ready for testing on the low-pressure test tube the startup is constructing.
Today’s test was just the test motor launching a sled into sand (because it didn’t have brakes). By the end of the year they plan to have the full-scale passenger pod ready with, hopefully, a braking system ready for 700 mph.
The only thing not-so-boring about today’s test was the revelation that Hyperloop One’s CTO is named Brogan BamBrogan.
To read more about how the motor and sled operated in today’s test, head over to Gizmodo.