Germany’s first Hyperloop test track to be built at the Technical University of Munich

Internationally, students at the Technical University of Munich have already caused a stir when it comes to Hyperloop. The Warr team managed to win the Elon Musk initiated Hyperloop Pod Competition several times. However, for this they always had to travel to the United States. But in the future, they can also test their developments in front of their own door. Germany’s first Hyperloop test track is being built near the Technical University of Munich in Ottobrunn. According to current plans, work on the approximately 24 meter long system should be completed this year. The researchers and students can then easily test new ideas and approaches in practice. However, no people are allowed to be transported yet. Rather, it is about proving the fundamental functionality of the technology. To date, however, no company has reached the target speeds of more than 1,000 km/h.

The Hyperloop can replace short and medium flights

The basic concept of the Hyperloop was published by Elon Musk in a white paper several years ago. However, it is designed as an open source project so that anyone can work on it. Simply put, it involves transporting transport capsules through a vacuum tube. Magnetic levitation technology is also used to further reduce friction. In theory, enormous speeds are possible in this way. The researchers from the Technical University of Munich have published a feasibility study for the Berlin-Munich route. Accordingly, travel time would be reduced from 4.5 hours to just thirty minutes. A well-developed Hyperloop network could thus make many short and medium-haul flights obsolete. According to the study, the costs are also more or less within reason: a Hyperloop connection between Munich and Berlin would therefore not be more expensive than the construction of a comparable ICE line.

It will take at least another ten years until the finished product

However, the condition for all these business games is that the technology works as the adherents of the concept imagine it to be. Even then, some safety aspects still need to be clarified. This includes the question of how people can be evacuated from the pipe in an emergency. Many experts therefore assume that the technology could initially be used primarily for the rapid transport of goods. The data and experience collected in this way are then valuable to make the Hyperloop suitable for passenger transport. But all this is still in the future. The researchers in Munich assume that it will take at least another ten years before the first market-ready solutions are available. Until then, money is needed for the research. TU Munich benefits from funding from the Free State of Bavaria. Other startups rely on prominent financiers such as Richard Branson or Frank Thelen.