Transporting passengers and merchandise in vacuum tubes at speeds unlike any seen before, and at very low prices: this is the goal of new technology, known as Hyperloop, which will revolutionise high-speed public transport. How it works, its level of maturity and the role companies like Sacyr can play in its development were the focus of discussion at the latest iFriday.
Participating in the discussion were Luis González, CEO of Iberian Hyperloop Infrastructures, and Rocío Viñas, Director of Innovation of INECO.
According to González, Hyperloop is a revolutionary transport system. The capsule, located inside the tube, levitates and propels itself using electromagnetic forces, thus minimising friction. González stated, “Physicists calculate it can reach a speed of 5,000 km/h, but commercial speeds would barely exceed 1,000km/h, a little faster than a plane”.
In May 2017, Hyperloop One began the protocols for the first testing of the vehicle in Nevada in the setting of a real tunnel. The test tunnel is 500 metres long and the speed reached was 400 km/h. “The tests demonstrate that the technology is ready; what is needed now is to work on obtaining favourable regulations, certification of the capsules, etc.” The CEO of Iberian Hyperloop Infrastructures expects the first real route to become a reality “between 2021 and 2023”.
Its implementation will be a game changer in many sectors, not only in the transport and energy industries. “It can impact the property sector by modifying the price per square metre in cities like Madrid, due to the real possibility of living in other areas and working in the capital city; the sales of large e-commerce firms, which can supply merchandise very quickly”, explained González.
The Director of Innovation of the state-owned company INECO, for her part, underlined the interest this new technology is attracting in Spain and the support from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development for related initiatives. One example is the initiative by the PrimeX team of FUE, a group of young people who last year participated in the final phase of the international Hyperloop One Global Challenge with a proposal to connect Madrid with Tangier by Hyperloop in an hour. “INECO supports the project for development in Spain as well”, Viñas stressed.