Comfort, style and speed – this may sound like a distant dream when it comes to land-based public transport, but if Hyperloop technology becomes a reality then travellers of the future will not only be able to reach Edinburgh from London in just an hour but will be able to work, talk and relax in relative luxury. Adam Anyszewski from Edinburgh University’s HYPED team gives a summary of what Hyperloop’s passenger experience might entail.
Imagine turning up at the station and your pod is already waiting for you. Imagine being able to seamlessly move between your appointments up and down the country with no more hassle than ordering a pizza online. And imagine all of this happening within decades. Well that’s exactly the plan that those who are involved in preparing for Hyperloop transportation are working on.
Most of the research and testing is going into the technological aspects of moving passengers efficiently and reliably from A to B. But a lot of thought is also going into a proposed infrastructure and in the customer-facing design aspects of the pods that people will be travelling in.
The hope is that Hyperloop will allow a passenger to book his or her travel all at once, without the need to think about onward journeys, buses, cars, parking and the like. This is the beginning of seeing travel not solely as a product that people purchase but instead moves us towards mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) where the responsibility for providing a seamless service lies with the operator. A little like ordering from Amazon – multiple steps are involved behind the scenes but you, the customer, only have to click a couple of buttons and your package arrives at the door.
Then there is the experience of travelling in the pod itself. With no windows and no sense of speed across the ground, passengers instead can look forward to an extremely smooth ride, with screens showing distance travelled or information about their destination. Seats will be designed to allow different arrangements for families, business travellers or those with extra needs for accessibility. Because of the speed of the transportation system, it is envisaged that it will be more like a commuter service – a bus for example – which will do away with the need for lavatories or restaurant facilities, freeing up space for passengers.
Safety is of course paramount and it’s this aspect that is being scrutinised by engineers across the globe, looking at factors such as collision avoidance, emergency braking, breakdown situations and passenger illness.
This level of meticulous detail and scrupulous planning will take many false turns as the engineers continue to pursue their dreams. However, the fact that we could be talking just decades, rather than generations, to make this a reality is one of the reasons why the race for Hyperloop has captured quite so many imaginations.
For a more detailed look at the HYPED team’s hopes for Hyperloop, visit the website of HYPED sponsor RS Components.