New routes for the hyperloop: New destinations identified

Hyperloop involves the transporting of a "pod" at high rates of speed inside a tube. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Hyperloop involves the transporting of a "pod" at high rates of speed inside a tube. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The potential for the hyperloop technology to take the world by storm is growing. Silicon Valley start-up Hyperloop One has finally chosen what the company views as the best areas to build its first hyperloop tracks. Most of these cities are found outside of the United States, with as many as 2,600 choices submitted, The Verge reports.

The idea of transportation at the speed of light used to be the figment of sci-fi imagination. On the other hand, dreamer-doers like Elon Musk make this pipe dream (pun intended) closer to reality.  Hyperloop One asked the public for ideas on where hyperloop technology should be deployed.

The company chose 10 proposals with one of the proposals even including the backing of state agencies like the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Columbus Airport Authority, to name a few. This reveals the kind of trust that some of the submissions earned from their respective financial backers.

After a successful test run at its Nevada-based pod, Hyperloop One has started looking forward to installing this transportation technology in other areas. It is developing a pilot in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai.

The concept of hyperloop is to transport people or cargo on a “pod” that operates much like a high-speed train inside a tube.

Hyperloop One’s top decision makers - Senior Vice President Nick Earle and founding President of Engineering Josh Giegel - confirmed in an interview with The Verge a meeting with two of the prominent computer chip makers today, Nvidia and Intel. Earle clarified, though, that the meeting was not exclusively about the hyperloop, but rather bigger picture issues where technology can solve transportation problems.

It’s an effort to merge two technologies in one go according to Earle. “We want any autonomous vehicle to go into our system.” If the hyperloop technology would speed up the transportation of people, it could possibly speed up the transportation of people in their autonomous vehicles that can fit in the pod. Earle then described it as “the ability to open the air lock and drive into the tube.”

The plan sounds great on paper; the challenge is to make it work in real life. With the announcement of winners, Hyperloop One has also revealed the feasibility study that it is currently performing in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The company’s press release described this partnership as a way to analyze “transportation demand, economic benefits, proposed routes and potential strategies, regulatory environments and alignment with overall CDOT high-speed travel, rail and freight plans.”

CDOT expressed its excitement in a statement provided by the department’s executive director, Shailen Bhatt. “We are excited to partner with Hyperloop One in exploring the next step of feasibility of this innovative technology, potentially transforming how Colorado moves.”

No cost estimate was mentioned. Hyperloop One, though, was willing to reveal the estimated cost for the proposed hyperloop in a feasibility study done in Europe. A tunnel spanning 300 miles from Stockholm, Sweden, to Helsinki, Finland, will cost approximately $21 billion.

The 10 routes Hyperloop One is studying are:

  • Pueblo-Denver-Cheyenne
  • Bengaluru-Chennai in India
  • Mumbai-Chennai, also in India
  • Edinburgh-London
  • Glasgow-Liverpool 
  • Mexico City-Guadalajara in Mexico
  • Toronto-Montreal in Canada
  • Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh
  • Dallas-Laredo-Houston
  • Miami-Orlando