Elon Musk’s transit system concept Hyperloop may soon come to reality

EPA / Heiko Junge

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. (HTT) published a report on Monday saying passive magnetic levitation will be the base technology of the Hyperloop system. The technology was originally developed by late Richard Post and his team at Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL). Collaboration on developing and building test systems by using passive magnetic levitation over the past year resulted with HTT exclusively licensing the system from LLNL. Hyperloop is an idea of a high-speed transportation system released in 2013.

Described as cheaper, safer alternative to active systems, passive magnetic levitation was established after a multi-year study which was finished with a construction of a test track.

“Utilizing a passive levitation system will eliminate the need for power stations along the Hyperloop track, which makes this system the most suitable for the application and will keep construction costs low,” said Bibop Gresta, chief operating officer of HTT. “From a safety aspect, the system has huge advantages, levitation occurs purely through movement, therefore if any type of power failure occurs, Hyperloop pods would continue to levitate and only after reaching minimal speeds touch the ground,” he added.

Three years ago, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk (pictured) presented a concept of an air-free tube-based, environmentally friendly transportation system and called it Hyperloop. The original design included vehicles that could be accelerated up to 760 miles per hour, riding on air cushions. Musk asked entrepreneurs to take over his prototype and develop it further. HTT was one of the companies that answered the challenge. Its system differs slightly from Musk’s initial concept and relies on magnetic fields causing the train to levitate.  The company hopes to open Hyperloop trains to the public in 2019.


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