A Hyper What?
by Brianna Fisher
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A Hyperloop. Have you heard of it yet? Let's say you need get from your home in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Nashville, Tennessee, to see your favorite country music act in concert. Normally, it's a two and a half hour drive, which seems like an eternity when you're excited to get somewhere. What if you could travel that distance in about 20 minutes and not have to deal with the hassle of airports and outrageous airfare? Sounds impossible, right? Not if you are part of the Hyperloop One team, an innovative bunch of people from all walks of life dedicated to saving our most precious resource: time.

The Hyperloop One team compares their idea to broadband internet for transportation: moving people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket while being energy-efficient and safe. According to their website, they "use a custom electric motor to accelerate and decelerate a levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle will glide silently for miles with no turbulence." It sounds like a dream come true for our world, that is becoming smaller and smaller thanks to the information super highway.

So, can it actually become a reality? Hyperloop One believes so. They have already created a test site in Las Vegas, complete with a tested prototype. The goal is to send people from city to city at speeds of 750 miles per hour in a vacuum-sealed tube. The prototype in Nevada didn't come near those speeds, but by achieving 116 miles per hour in 2 seconds, it proved that they have the right idea and are on the right track to making the impossible a reality.

In mid 2016, Hyperloop One announced that it and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority in the United Arab Emirates had partnered up to build the first commercial hyperloop system from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. The goal is to travel 99 miles in only 12 minutes. This project is expected to be completed by 2021- if success is achieved, a revolution in transportation will likely commence. According to the Associated Press, "Passengers will travel in pods that have room for 6 people. The pods are contained within a transporter, a pressure vessel attached to a chassis for levitation and propulsion that can accelerate the transporter to 1,100km/h. Different interior environments and seating arrangements offer passengers a travel experience tailored to their needs, whether travelling solo or in groups, for business meetings or casual trips." This sounds so sci-fi, am I right?

Every innovative idea has its skeptics, but a dream with a STEM mindset can turn skeptics into believers. Follow this transportation revolution on Twitter @HyperloopOne.

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This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH6114H00004. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
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