It's been more than three years since Elon Musk open-sourced his design for the Hyperloop, a futuristic form of transportation that promises to shotgun passengers through low-pressure tubes at near-supersonic speeds like bits of fleshy buckshot. And on Tuesday, one company released the first details we've seen so far on what a Hyperloop shotgun shell -- er, passenger pod -- might look like.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of two companies making a significant push to turn the fantasy into reality (Hyperloop One is the other), has revealed the specs and a glimpse of its passenger capsule design. It turns out the transit solution of the future will be about twice the size of the transit solution of the present and the past: clocking in at 98.5 feet (30 meters), the Hyperloop capsule is about double the length of a New York City subway car.
The capsule will also be 9 feet (2.7 meters) across and weigh 20 tons, with a passenger capacity of 28 to 40 people. If this is all sounding rather ordinary, there's still one key spec that makes it more revolutionary, which is its top speed of 760 miles per hour (1,223 kph). Not even the fanciest Japanese high-speed train can touch that.
HTT shared the above promotional video, which briefly shows a prototype of the empty passenger capsule interior (and what appears to be some engineers playing around with a Microsoft HoloLens inside it).
It kinda looks like the blank set for any number of science fiction flicks, so I pushed for a little more detail and was told this is the very first alpha version of the capsule, and there could be dozens if not hundreds of iterations on the interior design to come.
"We are looking at completely different interior concepts that go beyond just seating. That will be part of one of our future updates," HTT Communications Director Ben Cooke said via email.
Cooke did confirm there will be a restroom in the capsule, however, so it will apparently be safe at some point to get up and move around the cabin -- no word on when or if a "Hyperloop mode" will be required on mobile devices during a journey though.
HTT says one of the capsules would be able to leave a departure station as frequently as every 40 seconds, making it possible to transport up to 164,000 passengers per day.
Construction and refinement of the capsule is taking place at HTT's research and design center in Toulouse, France, using structural composites from Carbures, a company that specializes in fuselage for aircraft and spacecraft.
The future of going fast could be coming up just as quickly. HTT says the final capsule will be ready for a reveal in early 2018. The company has also said it hopes in 2018 to open a 5-mile prototype loop in central California.
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