Test tube transport: the Hyperloop nears reality

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar, in association with WSJ custom studios

 

Source: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Source: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Imagine traveling in capsules sucked through a tube using low air pressure and magnetic acceleration to achieve speeds of up to 760 miles (1,223 km) per hour. That’s the idea of the California Hyperloop, which could eventually cut the travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to a mere 30 minutes, compared with today’s one-hour flight or six-hour car journey.

As soon as next year, a full-scale test track will begin construction in Quay Valley, a proposed sustainable community located between California’s two major metropolises.

The Hyperloop is a system that not only makes sense because it’s cheaper to construct, but it’s also sustainable so it’s cheaper to run,” says Dirk Ahlborn, chief executive officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. “It changes the world.”

Tesla founder Elon Musk first laid out his Hyperloop vision in 2013 and invited others to take up the challenge. Turning the idea into a full-scale model in just three years may seem fast, but, as Mr. Ahlborn points out, it took a decade to get to the moon—“a way more difficult task,” he says. “The Hyperloop technology sounds like science fiction but, in the end, everything we’re doing already exists. The Quay Valley track is necessary to find out how to optimize the technology.”

The Hyperloop concept is similar to the pneumatic tubes used by banks to carry cash and documents, except that the passenger capsules would be sucked through the tube by controlled propulsion. A capsule (with large doors for speedy boarding) would enter a tightly sealed exterior shell. The tubes would probably be constructed from steel—although other materials, including fiberglass, are being considered—and covered with solar panels to supply the system’s energy. Low air pressure—of around 100 Pascals—would reduce air resistance inside the tube, while magnetic levitation and an air cushion would allow the capsule to hover above the tube’s surface. The straight track would further aid speed. As on a flight, passengers would sense how fast they are moving only when the capsule accelerates, slows or turns.

 

Hyperloop. Source: Forbes

Hyperloop. Source: Forbes

The Quay Valley track will allow engineers to work out optimum capsule size and boarding procedures. Each capsule is currently expected to seat 28 passengers and depart every 30 seconds during peak times, allowing a full-size Hyperloop to transport some 3,360 passengers an hour.

The Hyperloop would be elevated on pylons, making it possible to place the route above existing infrastructure such as highways, while also simplifying the process of obtaining right of way and minimizing the environmental impact.

More importantly, the pylons would be flexible enough to withstand earthquakes, in the way that pylons built in the 1970s to carry Alaska’s oil pipeline have proved resilient to such shocks, Mr. Ahlborn notes. As an enclosed system, the Hyperloop would also be impervious to harsh weather.

Perhaps more revolutionary than the technology is the way the Hyperloop team itself works. As well as partnering with companies and universities, more than 300 experts from 21 countries have been brought onto the team, working remotely online. Although they don’t get paid—most hold day jobs as engineers—they do get company stock options. “They’re driven by passion,” says Mr. Ahlborn.

The Hyperloop is groundbreaking in a commercial sense, too. It is expected to cost $16 billion to build, versus $68 billion for a comparable California high-speed rail line. Ticket prices for the Los Angeles-San Francisco stretch, at $20- $30, would be far cheaper than flying, and even that business model is open to disruption. “Do we need tickets?” asks Mr. Ahlborn. “Or are there other ways in which we can generate enough income.” Maybe the Hyperloop could “make more money having more people ride and we can say it’s free. Or maybe it’s free at certain times, and at peak times it costs a bit,” he adds.

The Hyperloop turns conventional infrastructure on its head, from its technology to its crowdsourcing. “Usually these things are done behind closed doors in a boardroom. We’re trying to be open. We’re using the community to do everything,” Mr. Ahlborn says. The Hyperloop “is a first for a lot of things.”

For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion.

Volvo’s New XC90 Wins the FAI 3rd Creativ’Experience Award

By Etienne BONNEROT

 This year’s 30th annual “Festival Automobile International” (FAI) event thrilled the automotive industry with the presentation of 2014’s innovative technology and design accomplishments. The “Creativ’Experience” award has proven to be one of the most exciting moments during the festival.A driverless car, enhanced virtual capabilities, hyper connectivity and new lightweight materials were just a few of the impressive breakthrough achievements featured at this premier event.

2015 “Creativ’Experience award” Winner-Volvo (XC90)

It is the Swedish brand Volvo XC90 that captured the “Creativ’Experience award” with its revolutionary driving assistance system. The new XC90 offers two new safety technologies: “A system that tightens safety belts and activates energy-absorbing features in the seats if the car wanders off the road and automatic braking if a vehicle pulls in front of the XC90” (consumerreports.org).These social interaction and mobility features interact with the surrounding environment and people which is good news for drivers that have to deal with over-crowed roads and urban traffic. “We see that eventually our Volvos will not crash at all and that very much leads us to autonomous driving” said Volvo Cars Chief Information Officer Klas Bendrik, in an interview.

Another application for this technology is bicycle recognition which uses the Volvo cloud database. A two-way connection shares the exact positions of the cyclist and car to alert the driver of a potential collision.

fai volvo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos credit : © Volvo group

Connecting Beautifully and Creatively :The Creativ’Experience Award

This recognition is awarded to the company that demonstrates excellence in innovation and ingenuity to collaborate, innovate and create a harmonious connection between the car and consumer.Navigation, connectivity and mobile entertainment are at the heart of creating the ultimate user experience. Contenders at the event introduced their latest innovations that contribute to making the connected car a reality.

This year’s nominees included outstanding new solutions from OEMs. Jaguar presented its “virtual Widscreen” which is considered the self-learning intelligent car of the future. This ‘Smart Assistant” on-board technology provides a completely personalized driving experience that also helps prevent accidents by reducing driver distraction.

jaguar FAI

© Jaguar Land Rover

The autonomous and connected car, “Renault Next two”, also introduced compelling features that combine driverless operation and hyper-connectivity. Radars and monitoring systems analyze the vehicle’s environment so the driver can take full advantage of the car’s high-speed connectivity system (video conference device, multi sensorial well-being, augmented reality).

The first driverless Google car was also presented in the innovation category.

fai renault

Credit photo: © largus.fr

Creating an Intelligent, Connected Vehicle Experience

Consumer buying decisions are based not only on aesthetics, price and features, but emotion and experience. The ingenuity of future cars relies upon intelligent technology that fosters creativity and innovation, while optimizing collaboration, integration and safety. Transportation industry leaders rely on solutions from Dassault Systèmes to create cutting-edge car experiences. The future success of automotive design relies on connecting the customer and the car.

The amazing achievements demonstrated at FAI, clearly demonstrate that creating the next version of your customer’s dream car means relying upon the best technology that allows ingenuity, collaboration and industry standards to exist synchronously. Automotive industry leaders are extending the scope and leveraging 3D universes to build new social experiences related to mobility.

How connected is your vehicle design with your customer’s requirements and experience?

Autonomous Cars in the Age of Experience

By Thomas

AKKA Link&GoCustomer buying behavior is fundamentally changing. Living in mega-cities, they often have to cope with traffic congestion and pollution. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2M people throughout the world are killed in car crashes every year. Human error is to blame for at least 60% of traffic fatalities. Vehicles are, in fact, mission critical systems because of the sheer mass they move in a fairly open system.

Now, customers care more and more about aesthetic, economic, driving performance, or unlimited technology. That is why the Transportation and Mobility industry is now exploring how to deliver the optimal “experiences” to their consumers. We are on the brink of a new technological revolution: the “self-driving” vehicles.

Olivier Sappin, Transportation & Mobility VP at Dassault Systèmes, provides a quick overview of this technological breakthrough:

YouTube Preview Image

Validate Customer Experience

Autonomous driving makes it possible to create entirely new driving experiences. The industry is thinking about how autonomous cars would “move” people, and not just in the literal sense. Self-driving cars could encourage work, relaxation or conversation. Passengers will spend their time in a more meaningful way. Autonomous cars will enable you to watch TV, listen to music, text a friend, or even eat dinner… without looking at the road ahead. As today’s drivers want to connect their various mobile, entertainment and GPS devices to optimize their vehicle environment, the new era of Transportation & Mobility starts to encompass social experiences. And these advancements will also improve productivity!

Self-driving cars make it necessary to test new types of vehicle-driver interaction. Now, consumers are fast becoming more comfortable with intelligent transportation systems: automatic parking, collision-avoidance systems and telematics. As a result, consumers of all ages are surely becoming prepared psychologically to cede control of the steering wheel.

So the idea is to challenge traditional automotive design. Automobile interiors will be redesigned so that seats can swivel sideways to face other passengers instead of facing forward, and desk surfaces will be built into the cabin walls.

AKKA Link&Go Interior

New Levels of Complexity To Be Managed

Automakers are increasingly developing cars that drive themselves. Audi, BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo all have announced plans to “unveil” an autonomous car by 2020. But Google is further ahead in this development than traditional industry leaders (Google is to release publicly a prototype in 2016). Autonomous vehicle drive systems are electro-mechanic and driven by software. That is why the industry strives to build cars from a systems model which allows them to validate functions including electrical, software and hardware.

Connectivity within and between vehicle environment is still a huge challenge. Vehicles can collaborate, interpret data from other vehicles around them, from surroundings, with the “Internet of Things” and improved GPS technology. Thanks to sensors allowing them to drive closer together, autonomous cars will accelerate and brake more efficiently than humans, increasing fuel efficiency. These standards continue to be discussed in the Transportation and Mobility industry.

Olivier Sappin, VP Transportation and Mobility, interviews Luc Barthelemy, R&D Program Manager at AKKA Technologies about a new autonomous concept car, Link&Go.

YouTube Preview Image

Collaborate Effectively

None will do it alone. Today’s car OEMs are building new relationships with innovators in many new areas (apps, car sharing, service providers, urban transport). Transportation and Mobility suppliers are building expertise too, not only by collaborating with OEMs in innovative ways, but also by creating new networks of expertise by themselves. Our partnership with AKKA Technologies is a great example.

According to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), self-driving cars will account for up to 75% of cars on the road by 2040. These new vehicles and sophisticated systems management tools will speed up innovation and foster new collaborative networks in order to create new, secure and delightful autonomous driving experiences.

AKKA Link&Go 2.0

There are still many questions unanswered:

  • Why don’t we see more driverless cars in the streets?
  • Who will be faster to get autonomous cars on the road? Car manufacturers, innovative companies, government,…?
  • What is the future of self-driving cars?
  • What do you think about this revolution?

We are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!

Thomas LANDOIS is a member of the Transporation&Mobility industry team.



Page 1 of 41234
3ds.com

Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.