A new train service has been proposed that could cut travel time between London and Edinburgh to a mere 50 minutes.
Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson has invested £65 million into Virgin Hyperloop One, a California-based company that is developing hyperloop technology.
The technology involves high-speed, all electronic transportation which consists of passengers in pods being accelerated through low-pressure tubes via electronic propulsion.
Relying on magnetic levitation, hyperloop technology reaches speeds of up to 700 miles per hour.
In a press release, Sir Branson stated, “I am convinced this groundbreaking technology will change transportation as we know it and automatically cut journey times.”
The initial design for Hyperloop was outlined in a 2013 research paper by Elon Musk.
Originally “Hyperloop One” – prior to its partnership with the Virgin Group – was founded in 2014 by Shevin Pishevar and Josh Giegel, and has been one of the first companies to successfully develop hyperloop technology.
In 2017, Hyperloop One began some of the first testings which involved firing pods down a 500m test track in Nevada where speeds of 70 miles per hour were reached in 5.3 seconds.
According to ZDNet, Giegel explained how “the combination of our proven technology and Virgin’s expertise … will accelerate the commercialisation of our company’s development”, adding that “our goal is to make travel fun again.”
Since 2015, Space X have held competitions to design and build the pods, which have seen over 1000 entries being submitted. This included a University of Edinburgh team entry which reached the final round and was rewarded the Subsystem Technical Excellence Award.
Benefits of hyperloop technology include less ground space in train service construction compared to typical models used currently, as well as it being an environmentally-friendly transportation, with its pressure pumps used powered by clean energy.
Nevertheless, concerns have risen over the cost of the development projects. Musk’s projected proposal for the cost of the Los Angeles route was approximately $11.5 million per mile, however a leaked document has suggested that the figure would be closer to $121 million per mile.
Virgin Hyperloop One is ambitious to have three functioning systems by 2021, with proposed routes throughout Europe and the USA.
With the backing of inventors and investors, technological investment is expected to dynamically come to fruition in the world of transportation.
Image: SpaceX Hyperloop via Flickr