Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
The Hypership is an autonomous magnetic and hover (Magnetover?) train system built to ship merchandise cross-country. Powered by forests of solar trees, it's derived from the Vactrain concept from the RAND Corporation and the Hyperloop transportation system devised by Tesla's Elon Musk.
In June 2013, I had the idea of creating a train propelled by an electric turbine that would ride on an cushion of air inside a concrete track. I started working with a student designer named Bing Xio Liu to create sketches of that project, but I shelved the idea when the designer lacked time to finish the concept.
How it works
The Hypership is a combination of hyper speed and shipping. Its purpose would be to ship merchandise at high speed across the continent by using a combination of magnetic tracks, induction charging, low pressure tubes, and an electric turbine to release the air pressure building up in front of the craft at extremely high speeds.
It's a clever system, and it's worth investigating. To minimize risk and building cost, I would use it initially as a hyper fast shipping system, but it could later carry passengers if it proves to be a workable system.
The power needed to operate the Hypership would come from flexible solar panels fixed on the top of the concrete tube along with forests of solar trees. To keep its carbon footprint low, additional power could also come from wind turbines scattered across the line and from hydroelectric power plants. Of course, it could also simply be plugged in the current network and purchase its electricity in real time from the cheapest bidders and (why not?) maybe even by some of the land owners.
It's an open source project, so anybody can throw in their ideas. Kousha Roudbari had the clever idea to liquefying part of the air that accumulates at the front of the craft during transit time and selling it back later.
What's it used for
If we can move food and product faster across the continent, it will increase our productivity. Technical discoveries will be made faster because it will take less time to ship and receive materials and products.
The Hypership project will be very expensive to build, but its infrastructure could be designed to last over 100 to 200 years, and spreading its cost over such a long period could make project viable. It would also become a vital military/strategic asset to transport supplies, rolling stock, and equipment from one coast to the other. It could also be used in combination with other vital infrastructure projects (gas or oil pipelines, electricity, communications, etc.) to spread out its capitalization cost.
Abhishek Roy who created the images of the Hypership. Abhishek is a freelance product designer based in Mumbai, India. Abhishek also created the rendering for the Rakoon snowmobile for teenagers.
Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles.
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