While some people are focusing on imagining a future where humanity travels among the stars, others are looking for solutions to more immediate problems. One such issue is the need for faster and safer transportation of both people and cargo here on Earth.
For the past decade, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has been working on a near-frictionless high-speed capsule system that, it hopes, will ultimately revolutionize both passenger and freight transport with its speed, efficiency, and sustainability. The company has now revealed details of HyperloopTT Express Freight, its new innovative freight transport capsule system.
The Express Freight system follows HyperloopTT’s Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study from 2020, which determined that the express freight option for Hyperloop would be cheaper than air and truck options while delivering goods faster and more sustainably.
Designed in collaboration with Tangerine, an innovation design firm, the hyperloop freight transport system is based on four key drivers: loading freight as fast as possible, integrating with existing infrastructure, maximizing freight volume inside capsules, and being flexible enough to cater to different customer demands.
HyperloopTT Express Freight will enable fast onboarding of freight with staggered doors for simultaneous loading and unloading, double doors on both sides and the fastest and most energy-efficient Collins Rollerball loading and unloading system. What’s more, it integrates seamlessly with existing infrastructure by retaining the DockLock principle from HyperloopTT’s passenger capsules.
The freight volume is maximized inside the capsule by lowering the floor to fit standard air cargo containers and adding a pocket door between structural ribs for more internal space. The system also uses a hyperloop load device to make sure that the freight is transported safely and securely.
The design of HyperloopTT Express Freight is highly flexible and can cater to different customer demands. It features a configurable hyperloop load device layout that can be tailored to the type of freight and customers’ needs.
“Hyperloop Express Freight will fundamentally transform how goods are transported globally,” Andrés de León, CEO of HyperloopTT, said in a statement. “By incorporating key innovations like fast automated loading systems, maximized freight capacity, and flexible configurations, we have developed a hyperloop design optimized for transporting freight at unprecedented speeds at cheaper rates than currently offered by air and road. This new standard for shipping will enable greater efficiency, sustainability, and flexibility in supply chains worldwide, and we are proud to be leading the way in this transportation revolution.”
HyperloopTT has a plan to integrate the Express Freight system with its passenger-based infrastructure. This passenger system is based on fuselage-shaped capsules that are propelled at speeds of up to 760 mph (1,223 km/h) using a maglev system that operates inside low-pressure vacuum tubes. Passengers can board and disembark at destination terminals with the help of automated DockLock doors that automatically attach to the capsules, thus avoiding pressure disruptions.
Hyperloop Express Freight is entering an industry expected to grow from $260 billion in 2020 to over $484 billion in 2030. It is the latest step towards making hyperloop systems a reality. In May, HyperloopTT and its partners were awarded an €800 million tender to build the first commercial hyperloop in Italy, supported by funding from the European Union’s NextGenerationEU program.