Virgin-less: Hyperloop – One Goes solo

The split off of Virgin from their Hyperloop involvement has taken everyone by surprise along with Hyperloop One’s stated intent to abandon the idea of transporting people. They claim they’re only focusing on freight. Is this a permanent strategy or a step back to get the system going with freight first, and passengers later? And why the Virgin exit?

Both situations create more questions than answers but let’s take a look at things and hopefully find some valid perspective. To me at least, the idea of being able to travel at hypersonic speed – a real potential of traveling in a vacuum state – is extremely attractive and a major reason I’d want to switch my long-distance travel mode away from flying. How about you?

Why would anyone want to stop flying? Why travel in a tube environment that’s controlled and in a vacuum? Are there advantages?

The obvious reasons are: Flying is affected by weather. The travel path since it’s in the atmosphere, is subject to whatever the earth’s weather decides it’s going to throw at you. Lightening, storms, wind, rain, clouds, fog… then there’s always the other planes or some foreign object that might enter the flight path. More reasons why are stated below.

Traveling in a vacuum – space is a vacuum for instance and the oldest and most proven form of travel happens in our universe all the time. For example, our Earth home travels around the sun perpetually in a vacuum. It’s able to do that because a vacuum removes all forms of atmosphere. Just like maglev removes rolling resistance, vacuum environments remove travel path resistance by removing any elemental molecules from that environment.

The advantages of a vacuum travel path are multiple. Efficiency increases dramatically – for example, ET3 has calculated that a 90% efficiency rate can be gained in a vacuum.

Speed – a vacuum allows anything within it to travel at much higher speeds without disturbance. No air molecules means an almost unlimited speed potential. The only limiting factors would be the curvature of the earth and gravity’s effect including g forces where tubes have to have curves, go up or downhill. 4000 Mph is the estimated limit assuming radius of curves are no smaller than 250 miles and you want to keep g forces limited to 1 g.

Why maglev and linear motors?

Maglev isn’t a new idea, it’s been applied to six high-speed rail projects. China has three, South Korea – has two and Japan has one. In the case of train technology – maglev reduces rolling component friction by eliminating anything that touches anything else. Wheels and rails touch one another and cause resistance. All the axles and components that support rolling wheels also contribute to rolling resistance.

In the case of trains and Hyperloop-ET3 (HET3), if you use maglev, then you’ve got to use linear motors. What are they? If you’ve ever ridden on a modern-day roller coaster and felt extreme acceleration, then you’ve experienced the power and potential of linear motors. The difference in the application – trains vs HET3 would be the mass and weight. Trains weigh a lot and require a lot of energy to move them and whatever’s inside.

In addition, trains still move through the atmosphere so, will always have speed limitations. HET3 requires a lot less energy to get a capsule going. As, HET3 weighs a lot less and is a new design from the ground up that performs inside a vacuum state, like space – so the application of linear motors can be thoughtfully integrated into this new system while unleashing the greater potential they offer. Travel pods weigh a lot less than trains. An additional advantage with HET3 designs is the ability to recapture energy through regenerative braking. ET3 suggests 90% of the energy used to move a pod can be reclaimed using HTSM maglev.

Why Hypersonic speed – aren’t planes fast enough? What about Hyperloop’s supersonic 750 Mph?

The simple answer would be – get where you’re going a lot faster while spending a lot less time sitting, waiting to get there. How much time do we spend in planes and at airports – waiting? A typical flight to S.E. Asia, Bangkok from West Coast U.S. for instance – usually takes 20 hours in the best circumstances. U.S, domestic flights with layovers, boarding, and un-boarding, unless you can get a direct flight, have moved into the 10+ hour category. If Hyperloop were limited to 750 Mph, you’d probably still get there a lot faster than flying. Speed counts for sure.

Airplane travel at sub-sonic speed is faster than a car or train, but it’s still slow. And, it takes a lot of energy to get a plane to fly and stay flying while reaching cruising altitude and speed. Hyperloop in a vacuum will definitely be faster. It will also be a lot more efficient… it has to be. Current sub-sonic airplane travel is just too slow when newer technology has come along to displace it. Although, stated in the Alpha-Hyperloop document gives a peek inside the minds of aerospace dreamers and thinkers. They’d like to keep us in planes, including Elon Musk. Also, flying at supersonic speed will consume even more energy. It will also require that we briefly head into space, then re-enter at the desired location for landing.

There’s a big problem with all this though… If the technology to fly faster costs more to develop and build, if planes use even more energy than today – we can assume that the cost to fly faster will increase. That’s a big problem in the larger realm – eight billion people now inhabit our planet. How will the idea of supersonic airplanes be able to serve the vast majority of travelers who won’t be able to afford it? The larger argument of staying on course with advanced aviation doesn’t hold up.

Unless you’re creating an industry that serves an exclusive group who can afford it, most passengers won’t be flying supersonic. Also, it’s highly doubtful that airplanes are going to get you there at 4000 Mph… then you’ve got the reality of the terminal system that’s completely broken. It’s antiquated and archaic when comparing today’s current air travel design to HET3 designs such as Virgin Hyperloop, Hardt Hyperloop and ET3 – all utilize switched pods that eliminate layovers and plane transfers. Switching changes everything.

What’s the idea behind pod travel path switching & what’s it do for you?

When the ideas started coming out about a vision of Hyperloop travel and what that would look like, it resembled the traditional airport terminals with the idea of making them more like Singapore with all it has to offer. It’s a nice idea, but… with all technological change and utilizing the right/smartest design, the idea of long layovers and lounging in terminals won’t be necessary. Those pretending to be visionaries were clueless about the power and potential, HET3 will eliminate anything that resembles today’s terminal designs.

The people realized immediately that Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop Train” idea could be actually something, never met Daryl Oster and didn’t research the design elegance of ET3. Elon Musk knew about ET3 though – before he published the Hyperloop-Alpha document, but the publication effectively misguided Hyperloop participants away from ET3s ideas. Research and development efforts have cost a lot of money that has finally led to the discovery of Daryl’s ideas… now everyone is thinking along the lines of ET3. But, it they’re not, they’re complete fools following the wrong lead and it will cost them dearly.

When you get into your car and drive somewhere and want to get there – no frills like, do you want to stop and lounge someplace? Usually, the answer would be no unless you like traveling that way or your journey is a long one. When we travel by car, we do that because it’s most convenient and serves our needs best. It also can save a lot of time vs bus or other scheduled methods that use terminals. Most people’s objective when traveling is to get where they’re going. That’s typically the highest priority.

Essentially, switching eliminates the need for elaborate terminals – with HET3, you won’t be waiting for connections, no long layovers. How that’s accomplished is through switching pods during travel. Each pod has a unique destination. Think of the internet and how information travels to get to your screen. It doesn’t stop along the way and wait for a physical handshake – no one has to carry your request by hand and walk it to the next flight so it gets to you eventually. When you put in your request, within seconds, you’ll get a result.

HET3 works very much the same way, except now we’re switching pods in a physical network. An internet for moving people and things. Except when you get inside a small travel pod that seats up to six people, you program your destination and go. Your journey begins when the pod launches and ends when you get there without stopping. Along the travel route, your pod switches to the appropriate tubes in the network until you get there. It’s seamless and extremely efficient – most convenient like your car, but no traffic and goes a lot faster! No terminals required, only stations large and small for getting in and getting out.

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