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Hyperloop capsules to be clad in mega-strong smart skin packed with sensors

A newly unveiled smart material made from carbon fiber will be keep the capsules, designed by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, lightweight and connected.


The capsule will be made up of two layers of the smart material.

Hyperloop Transport Technologies

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies unveiled on Tuesday a smart material packed with sensors that will be used to craft the capsules for the tubular transit system.

Made from famously lightweight carbon fiber, the material is eight times stronger than aluminium and 10 times stronger than any steel alternative, according to HTT. The advantage of keeping the material, which is called Vibranium, so feather light is that it will reduce the energy needed to propel the capsules across long distances.

Critically, the sensors locked inside the material are able to measure and relay information about the capsules back to an operations base for the proposed high-speed transportation system. The sensors will read the capsule's temperature, stability and integrity in real time in order to guarantee safety and performance, HTT said.

The idea for Hyperloop, the system by which commuters shoot between cities at speeds of up to 700mph, was initially dreamed up by Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame. HTT is one of two companies currently trying to bring Musk's vision to life. The other, Hyperloop One, showed off its initial efforts at a working test track earlier this month in the Nevada desert.

HTT has yet to unveil a similar magnetized jet-propulsion system -- the basis of the Hyperloop concept -- but did demonstrate its smart material in action at Pioneer's Festival in Vienna on Tuesday.

HTT is concentrating -- reassuringly -- on safety innovations. The company plans to construct its capsule from dual layers of its smart material so that even if the outside of the capsule is damaged it can continue to operate safely.

"Safety is one of the most important aspects of our system," Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of HTT, said in a statement.