China enters the hyperloop race

Arrivo is building a hyperloop for passengers and cargo traveling short distances.

Arrivo is building a hyperloop for passengers and cargo traveling short distances.

Even though hyperloop has not yet been officially launched in mainstream transportation systems in the United States, it has piqued the interest of the Chinese government enough to consider a 16-man passenger pod system using the Maglev technology, the Handy Shipping Guide reports, in a project undertaken by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).

CASIC is China’s equivalent to NASA. Its earlier projects included “space age weaponry and intercontinental ballistic rocketry,” projects more similar with Elon Musk brainchild SpaceX. CASIC’s yet to be named pod-based transportation project is projected to run up to 750 mph. The enterprise went as far as registering two hundred patents for the system. The ultimate goal is to transport passengers at 2,300 mph.

The Chinese project has a big advantage over projects by Musk and current Virgin Hyperloop One chairman Richard Branson because of fewer governmental regulations as it is the Chinese government itself funding the transportation initiative.

Commuter transport is mentioned in the report, but freight and logistics were not specifically mentioned. CASIC said it is starting small in terms of the number of passengers. The need to get the One Belt, One Road projects completed and connecting Eurasia through railway infrastructure projects is a priority.

It’s not the first time that the hyperloop technology has faced some formidable competition. And it will not be the last. Enter Los Angeles-based Arrivo, a startup by Hyperloop One co-founder Brogan BamBrogan. His stint as SpaceX ex-employee was put to good use when he put up the enterprise with the vision of “connecting national and international cities using the hyperloop tube.” The new venture uses similar technology designed to run through “shorter, currently congested, routes.”

Arrivo called this plan its “super urban network” with vehicle sleds - as opposed to pods, although the similarities are obvious as seen on their website - pushed through a magnetized track. The magnetized track will link highly urbanized locations where passengers and freight will be transported to and from their respective destinations. The similarities to the previous tests were noted in the report by The Denver Post.

Since Arrivo has partnered with the Colorado Department of Transportation, the comparison used to describe its speed is by imagining commuters traveling from Denver to Boulder in eight minutes. The proposed track is now planned to be built on the unused E470 tollway adjacent to the Denver International Airport.

Arrivo’s first track is estimated to be at half a mile long. It could speed up transportation along Denver routes and slash commuting and shipping times by as much as 80%.

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