A FUTURISTIC high-speed transport system powered by super strength magnets has hit a new speed record.
A prototype Hyperloop system, which could one day transport paying customers in pods that zip through airless tubes, hit nearly 290 miles per hour over the weekend.
Camera feeds showing the winning Hyperloop pod during its 290mph test run[/caption]
That’s the same as covering the length of a football pitch once every second.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, 48, who cooked up the idea of the Hyperloop system, announced the record breaking test run on Sunday.
A Hyperloop works by squeezing small pods into a giant tube system that’s had the air sucked out of it to reduce friction.
Pods are levitated using electromagnets and fired through the tunnels at high speeds.
A Hyperloop system would speed through pipes installed overground or underground[/caption]
SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk speaks at the Hyperloop contest on Sunday[/caption]
According to Musk, each pod could transport up to 40 passengers at 760 miles per hour.
That’s quick enough to go from London to Edinburgh in 45 minutes.
The new Hyperloop speed record was set by a team from Germany’s TUM University. Their custom built pod reached 288 miles per hour, beating the previous record of 284 mph.
The group were competing in a speed contest run by Musk and his private rocket-building company SpaceX.
It is the third time a Hyperloop Pod Competition has been run by the firm.
A total of 21 groups from across the planet competed to achieve the fastest top speed at a 4,000ft test track at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Musk later announced the new speed record on Twitter[/caption]
Hyperloop – in numbers
- The Hyperloop pod is tipped to carry around 28-40 passengers.
- It will transfer 164,000 passengers daily.
- Taking just 40 seconds to depart, customers won’t want to miss their slot.
- The Hyperloop One tunnel will be 100 feet long and 2.7m in diameter.
- It’s set to launch in Abu Dhabi in 2020, with a project in India also underway
Musk congratulates new record holders from TUM University in Germany[/caption]
“You could say the pod is the result of four years of evolution,” said TUM team manager Toni Jukic. “Each year we learned something new and put the knowledge into practice.”
Although Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla, came up with the idea for Hyperloop, he open-sourced the technology to allow other firms to develop the idea.
In a white paper written in 2013, Mr Musk described the system as “a cross between Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table”.
Several companies are vying to be the first to build a Hyperloop transport system.
Hyperloop could one day transport up to 40 passengers at speeds of up to 760 mph (artist’s impression)[/caption]
The world’s first will supposedly open in Abu Dhabi in 2020, while Musk himself is building test tunnels under Los Angeles.
The billionaire has mooted the idea of linking LA to San Francisco using Hyperloop tunnels.
Across the pond, Sir Richard Branson has laid out plans to build a Hyperloop system in the UK with Virgin Hyperloop One.
Sir Richard claims the tech could cut down the journey from London to Edinburgh to under an hour and cost less than High-Speed 2. There are no firm plans to start building any time soon.
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