In the world of hyperloop and revolutionary transportation technology, the focus right now is on timelines and traction. The Verge ran an article with the scathing headline "The hyperloop is perpetually just 'three years away'". The piece criticized Elon Musk for his diversified business interests and also noted that industry predictions for hyperloop launch dates have been continually revised and should therefore be taken with a grain of salt. Undeterred by recent critical coverage, particularly regarding Tesla's financial health, Elon Musk fired off a tweet on April 27th which seemed to indicate that substantial progress has been made on the hyperloop front. "Almost ready to test the new Boring Company / SpaceX hyperpod prototype. Exciting video guaranteed," he teased.
Image Source: Foster + Partners
Despite the perceived fuzziness regarding timelines, there have been noteworthy business developments. Virgin Hyperloop One is exploring its options in freight transport. To that end, the company is now collaborating directly with DP World on this challenge.
"Throughout history, cargo has always been the catalyst for transport revolutions," proclaims a recently released video regarding the shipping venture. The video argues that there is an increasing expectation for the rapid delivery of goods, influenced in part by e-commerce. New, advanced infrastructure is needed to match this consumer behavior shift. According to the video, hyperloop can be seamlessly integrated with ports, providing a novel solution. A CGI animation and concise verbal descriptions then convey some of the engineering particulars of the hyperloop design, toting the environmentally-friendly aspects.
While the video never nails down any numbers, it does set a benchmark for expectations, noting that the system will operate "at the cost of trucking and the speed of flight." In addition to these claims, the video also aspires to offer a vivid, futuristic vision, with an array of technologies on display, including drones and unmanned aerial vehicles that make brief cameos.
The freight applications of hyperloop technology have been theorized previously. In many respects, the DP World Cargospeed video is an attempt to solidify these ideas and impressions. Freight transport is arguably the optimal way to test this new technology, as it minimizes any adverse impact that could arise from an engineering imperfection or failure.
Dubai's DP World has a wide portfolio of marine and inland terminals around the globe. DP World has previously provided funding to Virgin Hyperloop One.