Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) on Monday said it will use a technology called passive magnetic levitation as the foundation for its version of Elon Musk’s futuristic transportation system.
The technology, which was originally developed by physicist Richard Post in 2000, is said to be a cheaper and safer alternative to traditional magnetic levitation (maglev) currently in use by high-speed bullet trains in China and Germany. Post worked for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California until his death last year at the age of 96.
As The Verge explains, passive magnetic levitation utilizes loops of unpowered wire in the track system along with permanent magnets in the train pods. When implemented in a track, the system is known as Inductrack.
HTT is one of two US-based companies currently involved in the Hyperloop project, the other being Hyperloop Technologies. The latter company, led by former Cisco executive Rob Lloyd, is inviting select journalists to Las Vegas this week where it plans to demonstrate full-scale components that will be used in its transport system.
Elon Musk announced plans for his Hyperloop concept in the summer of 2013. The billionaire envisions a network of cross-country tubes that will use pods to transport people long distances in a very short amount of time. The idea was proposed with a theoretical top speed of 4,000 MPH although that’s come down to a more realistic (although still incredibly fast) 760 MPH.