The idea of a vehicles travelling inside low-pressure tubes was proposed 200 years ago by british inventor George Medhurst. At that time the technology was not ready, but important advances in magnetic levitation, high frequency control, automation, high power electronics, materials, turbomachinery, energy storage systems, telecommunications and pressure equipment (among other technologies) has made it possible to commercialize systems that operate safely and efficiently. Hyperloop combines such proven technologies together and therefore the challenge is now the integration of the technologies. Hyperloop is therefore ready to become a reality now.
The main technologies that make hyperloop unique are:
1. Tube network: airtight environment inside which hyperloop vehicles travel.
2. Pressure maintenance system: a set of pressure pumps distributed along the tube network extract the air in order to reduce the air resistance and improve performance.
3. Levitation: it elliminates the rolling resistance, vibrations and wheel-track wear of wheeled transport systems expanding its speed limits.
4. Propulsion: it moves the vehicles inside the network of tubes with electric aerodynamic propulsion or electromagnetic systems like linear motors.
5. Driver-less operations: vehicles don’t have a driver and can be controlled from control stations and individually with vehicle automation systems.