In 2020 HyperloopTT and Thornton Tomasetti began work on a broad operational safety and security assessment that focussed on evaluating the performance of key system elements under extreme loading conditions arising from accidents and intentional threats.
“Passenger safety is the most important part of any transportation system,” Andrés De León, the CEO of HyperloopTT said in a statement. “We have placed this principle at the core of our design by utilising best practices from rail, aviation and other analogous industries and employing the expertise of leading professionals in these fields. The completion of this latest safety analysis done in partnership with the experts at Thornton Tomasetti allows us to move on to the next stages for our passenger and freight systems.”
With capsules travelling up to 760mph, the high-speed nature of the hyperloop system and its operation within a low-pressure environment presents unique technical considerations.
Thornton Tomasetti performed detailed simulations of various conditions, including thermodynamics, gas dispersion, capsule and battery safety, blast and impact effects on supporting infrastructure and material selection and characterisation. It also demonstrated how risk mitigation measures can be implemented across the system to enhance safety, with the results expected to inform the next design iteration of the key system elements and their deployment.
Pawel Woelke, principal leading the project at Thornton Tomasetti, said: “Because hyperloop is a completely new system, the technical challenges require innovative thinking. Working closely with the HyperloopTT team, we systematically assessed the risks and developed multiple first-of-its-kind, practical solutions aimed at risk reduction.”
The successful assessment follows the release of the completed safety guidelines for hyperloop systems with TÜV SÜD, which define critical core safety requirements for hyperloop systems, and the publishing of the Risk Report with partner Munich Re that concluded hyperloop technology is feasible and insurable.