Foster + Partners reveal concept for the future of Hyperloop transport

An award-winning British architectural design and engineering firm has unveiled the latest concept for the Virgin Hyperloop One which could transport cargo and eventually passengers at speeds of flight.

The video released by Foster + Partners shows a vision for the future of high-speed transportation. DP World Cargospeed is a collaboration of cargo giant DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One and aims to create an infrastructural network that forms a fundamental part of a new ecosystem, in which urban centers, rural landscapes, people and nature are all interconnected.

The transport system is a proposed method of propelling cargo and eventually passengers through low pressure tubes in pods as little as ten seconds apart.

Foster’s Cargospeed project which is based in Dubai is not passenger-focused however and looks to build on cargo’s historic role as the catalyst for transport revolutions, hyperloop is a new mode of transportation that moves freight quickly, safely, on-demand and connects seamlessly with existing modes of transportation.

Engineers say the transport is aided by the fact it’s safe and clean, with no direct carbon emissions. Hyperloop is said to support sustainable operations powered by renewable energy. Cargo is loaded into the Hyperloop pod which accelerates gradually by means of electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod floats above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

According to the firm, testing in Nevada had seen pods able to accelerate to 192mph in a matter of a few seconds, raising the prospects of future development. Virgin Hyperloop has previously said that it aims to have an 'operational system' ready by 2021.

Commenting on the designs, Norman Foster, founder and executive chairman of the British firm, said: “We are pleased to be part of the team of DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One to pioneer this concept of a green and renewable system of transport. The movement of people and goods is part of the vital infrastructure that binds all our cities together – and cities are the future of our society. As Hyperloop looks to reinvent urban transport and logistics, the city of the future is closer than we think. It is important we develop an integrated sustainable vision of infrastructure that will enable us to evolve and adapt our existing cities and design new ones that will be in harmony with nature and our precious planet.”

The mode of transport has been researched for the UK. A report published last November by the Department for Transport’s Science Advisory Council said the construction of a 700mph transport system would have a ”transformative impact” on the UK. 

Discussing the feasibility of how a hyperloop system could be introduced safely within the UK’s transport infrastructure, the authors of the report believed it would allow people to “live anywhere in the country and easily commute great distances” by cutting journey times dramatically. Users could even feasibly travel between London and Edinburgh in 50 minutes it is claimed.

However, the DfT did also concede that due to the “scale of the technical challenges involved” it will mean a hyperloop system is unlikely to be ready for decades.

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