Hyperloop is an unproven technology that could disrupt ground (and underground) travel. A hyperloop is a low pressure tube, or system of tubes, through which autonomous pods (containing people or freight) may travel, floating on air or using magnetic levitation, at speeds up to 750 mph.
The concept was first introduced by Robert Goddard in 1904, and popularized by Elon Musk in 2012. Musk’s proposal is to use tunnels to eliminate traffic congestion (which is why Musk formed the Boring Company to make tunneling more efficient). Watch a brief video here. Implementing Hyperloop involves very high initial capital investments (to install the tube system), but operations would be low cost, fast, and environmentally efficient.
There are several companies developing pilot versions, including Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One. At this stage there are test tracks in the US and Europe, with expected operation starting in 2021-2. The technology seems best applied to inter-city travel. Proposed routes are in Germany, the US, and India. (China has specifically denied interest in the technology, preferring to continue to enhance its high-speed trains.)
If implemented, the impact on jobs would initially be positive, involving major tunnel construction projects. Manufacture and operation of the pods would require skills different from working with trains and buses, but no major loss of jobs would be envisaged (beyond those already resulting from the transition to autonomous electric vehicle travel).
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Introduction to hyperloop technology (Hyperloop – 2018-03 – ZDNet)
Mass transit to be prioritized over cars by Boring Company (Hyperloop/Mass Transit – 2018-03 – Futurism)
How tech will revolutionize transportation in the 2020s (Hyperloop – 2018-02 – ZDNet)
Virgin Hyperloop One ready to start commercialization phase (Hyperloop – 2018-01 – TechRepublic)
Hyperloop One app to select fastest/cheapest/greenest multi-modal route (Hyperloop – 2018-01 – TechRepublic)