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VR: Enter The Hyperloop Tube For A Test Ride At 1200 km/h

One of the teams to win Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition has released a virtual reality app to give you a preview of the future of tube travel.

The app is based on a real Hyperloop pod with electromagnetic propulsion designed by students from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

A half-sized fully working prototype of the pod was one of the first Hyperloop units ever to complete a 1.25-kilometre test run in a vacuum tube in California this weekend (29 January).

A total of nearly 30 student teams from the United States and around the world descended on the SpaceX campus near Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition.

Delft Hyperloop managed to take home one of the event’s two main prizes by securing the most points in total. The other main award was focused on speed alone and went to a team from TU Munich in Germany.

VR App

All you need to take the Dutch team’s futuristic pod for a spin at the speed of sound is an iOS or Android smartphone and a VR headset, available online for around €10.

The app, developed by INDG, lets you explore the Dutch Hyperloop pod’s technology, and simulates a trip between Amsterdam and Paris.

Tim Houter, team leader at Delft Hyperloop, put it like this: “To experience this vision in virtual reality, to show in detail our engineering (…) takes us and everyone else a step closer to making this revolutionary transportation system a reality.”

The competition is a reminder that lot has happened since Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk first published a white paper on the Hyperloop.

Released as an open source concept in 2013, the technology could see passengers travel in pods that levitate through low-pressure tubes at more than 1000 kilometres per hour.

From Amsterdam to Paris

Although a number of companies are currently hoping to develop full-scale commercial Hyperloop systems, Musk says he and his space company SpaceX have been running the global student competition to accelerate innovation.

Powered by renewable energy, the Hyperloop could be a sustainable alternative to transport by road or air – and it would also be much faster.

With a top speed of 1200 kilometres per hour, the Hyperloop could take you from Amsterdam to Paris in just 30 minutes. A dramatic improvement over the more than three hours it takes to travel between the two cities by train.

Virtual Windows

One of the things you’ll notice when trying out the app is that you are travelling in a windowless tube. It would make the experience comparable to an underground train ride without stops, and the team from Delft says they can do better than that.

A full sized version of their pod would feature virtual reality windows to offer 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape “to make the experience more enjoyable and calming while travelling through a tube without windows.”

European Success

To win the competition, the Dutch and German teams defeated students from universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tokyo’s Keio University.

The European universities that participated in the event all collaborate in the European Union’s climate innovation partnership, Climate-KIC. In addition to the winning teams from TU Delft and TU Munich, students from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) were also represented.

During an earlier stage of the competition, the Spanish team received awards for its design concept and propulsion systems.

Do you also want to make the world cleaner, faster and more sustainable? Find out how Climate-KIC could help you accelerate your technology.

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