Next week, the SpaceX headquarters will host the 2019 Hyperloop Pod Competition. A team from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has released an advanced sneak peek of their entry: a panoramic virtual reality experience of the future of transportation. What does this future look like? Everyone zooming around in pods inside vacuum-sealed tubes, apparently.
The Delft Hyperloop team won the first Pod Competition in 2013, designing a lightweight, power-efficient vehicle. For this year’s competition, after winning a second time in 2017, Delft Hyperloop will be focusing on speed. Their “Atlas 02” pod must be the fastest on record to win, beating 19 other teams down a 1.25 km test track.
Elon Musk introduced the hyperloop system in 2013 and launched the Pod Competition to accelerate its development. The system is intended to be a revolution in transportation, using pressurized pods and vacuum tubes for convenient, high-speed travel. Delft Hyperloop’s website describes the hyperloop system as the “5th mode of transportation.”
Pods will be able to travel faster than planes — over 620 mph. Vacuum pumps remove 99.9% of air pressure from the tunnel-tubes, decreasing resistance to almost nothing. They would be as convenient as trains, departing every minute, and run using sustainable energy sources. It’s meant to be a sustainable alternative to short-to-medium-haul flights; in a SpaceX pod, you could get from Amsterdam to Paris in just 30 minutes.
Delft Hyperloop is working with graphics studio AltSpace and CGI technology company INDG to create a unique 3D experience showcasing their pod. The video includes the team’s vision of a futuristic Hyperloop station and the pod’s full design, including virtual windows simulating a view of the outside environment.
“A part of this is showing the public what it will be like to travel using this new system,” Delft Hyperloop Team Captain Rieneke van Noort told VR Focus. “Through VR, we want to enable people to experience the Hyperloop in an interactive and immersive way.” In a few decades, pods and tubes might be your regular, mundane commute to work — but right now, Delft Hyperloop is providing an exciting glimpse into a high-tech future.