The development of a Hyperloop transit system—giant pneumatic tubes carrying people in pods at very high speeds—took another step forward with the completion of Europe’s first Hyperloop test tube. The facility at TU Delft measures roughly 100 feet long and 10.5 feet in diameter. Though it’s far shorter than Hyperloop One’s 1,600-foot-long U.S. test facility, this track will be used to test the safety, propulsion, gliding, and stabilization of the industry’s leading pod design.
A number of companies and colleges are vying for primacy in the emerging world of Hyperloop transit, many spurred by Elon Musk’s incentivized competition for developing a prototype pod. TU Delft won the first stage of the competition, and several of those researchers went on to establish the transit company Hardt, working with TU Delft and construction company BAM to move the design forward through testing at the new tube.
“In terms of transportation, a new age has begun with self-driving vehicles, platooning trucks and drones,” said the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegan, at the test facility unveiling. “In the Netherlands, we want to be the European test bed for these innovative and sustainable forms of transport and so build up more knowledge about them. The hyperloop is fast, innovative, silent, and sustainable and so very interesting for the transportation needs of the future.”