If zipping around in a small pod through a confined tube at around 760 miles per hour sounds a bit claustrophobic, one hyperloop company is hoping it has a remedy.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said Sunday it is working on "augmented windows," so passengers in the futuristic high-speed transportation system have something to look at while traveling.
The hyperloop, for the uninitiated, is billionaire Elon Musk's vision for the future of travel. It involves pods hovering on a cushion of air moving through a narrow tube at the speed of sound. Musk unveiled the plans in 2013, but the CEO of Tesla and rocket company SpaceX said he couldn't build it because he did not have the time. The hope for the hyperloop is that it could revolutionize transportation by cutting down travel time and reducing traffic.
But tubular travel doesn't leave much room for many other things people are used to when traveling, like windows. So HTT said it's developing interactive screens you can control with your phone that would let passengers see a realistic landscape outside. The company said it would do that by using motion-capture technology but didn't elaborate further. The "windows" would let you do things like pull up the time, speed you're going, or a map. The company said it is also working on a way for people to be able to see the same things on a screen at the same time.
The idea is to create an experience that's vastly better than what passengers are used to, but not too foreign.
"That's what we're working on besides moving a capsule through a tube," Dirk Ahlborn, chief executive of HTT, said at the South by Southwest tech, music and film festival in Austin, Texas. "Our goal is to make travel suck less."
The company is working with a German augmented reality company called Re'flekt to develop the windows.
HTT is working on a hyperloop track in Quay Valley, California, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company hopes to have the project up and running there in three years. And last week, HTT announced plans to build a track in Europe connecting Slovakia, Austria and Hungary, with the first section to be completed by 2020.