Take free online Hyperloop courses and learn about the proposed transportation method on edX.
What is hyperloop?
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, first floated the idea of the hyperloop system through his transportation startup, The Boring Company. Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system that could drastically shorten travel times for passengers and freight while remaining energy efficient. In the race for superfast travel, hyperloop promises to deliver speeds of over 700 miles per hour by encasing transport pods into a tube that reduces air resistance and friction.
Musk's first hyperloop design, Hyperloop Alpha, looked at putting this high-speed rail test track from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The paper, Hyperloop Genesis, proposed placing hyperloop pods, essentially a vacuum tube, on air bearings driven by linear reduction motors and relied on magnetic levitation. The project was estimated at several billion dollars, with some experts predicting a much higher price tag when it's all said and done.
Hyperloop projects remain of high interest in both the research community and industry as a whole. By moving goods and people at top speed through these aerodynamic tubes, companies could earn millions without a hefty increase in energy cost. Several startups are working on the designs and equations while big names are planning their own renaissance. In addition to Elon Musk's hyperloop, Richard Branson recently opened his hyperloop transportation technology, Virgin Hyperloop One.
Learn about Hyperloop's technologies
edX offers courses designed in partnership with leaders in the field of cutting-edge engineering and civic design. Students can explore the open-source technology that makes the hyperloop system a possibility. Courses are free to explore for personal growth, but students may also choose to receive official credit for a fee. Learners exploring professional development or making a career change have accredited courses, certifications, and even degree programs to add to a resume.
DelftX offers a dedicated course to the promises and theories of hyperloop travel with its course, Hyperloop: Changing the Future of Transportation. Students will study the basic engineering principles underpinning the design and explore the challenges brought by high-speed trains of this type.
Learners may also take courses introducing the physics principles that ground this space-age transport system in the real world. MITx's Introduction to Aerodynamics, for example, explores the physics principles that allow us to build faster transportation. WBGx's e-Learning Course on Urban Rail Development explores rails and mass transit as a whole. And HarvardX's CitiesX: The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Life explores the overall concepts behind innovative cities that could host cutting-edge transit systems like hyperloop.
The future of Hyperloop
While we haven't seen hyperloop routes just yet, these low-pressure tubes and passenger pods could offer a way to make travel even faster. Companies are still conducting feasibility studies, but with air travel increasingly inefficient and countries launching full-scale redesigns of city infrastructure, we may see an increase in hyperloop companies, such as HyperloopTT.
It may not be long before the first passengers of a hyperloop train make the journey through the Colorado mountains or Las Vegas desert or across Europe where other cutting-edge trains run. Virgin Hyperloop One conducted its first test in India thanks to Dubai-based DP World.