US entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to revolutionize transportation. His vision is for transport capsules, or pods, to travel at 1,200 kilometres per hour through a vacuum tube. His project known as Hyperloop is designed to develop transport for both people and cargo.
To foster development of the capsules required, Musk held a competition via his company, SpaceX. The Escher transport capsule from Zurich was entered and achieved third place.
According to a statement from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), the pod produced in Zurich reached a speed of 40 miles per hour (around 64 kilometres per hour) on a test track in the Californian desert.
The Swissloop capsule is partly based on technology from the St.GallenBodenseeArea. Baumer from Frauenfeld provided Escher’s sensors, which monitor the speed and position of the pod, as well as its engine and breaking system.
Both pressure sensors and high-precision laser distance sensors feature in the pod. Thanks to the information they provide, the pod is able to maintain the correct floating position on the track.