The testing site will facilitate a series of experiments to validate fundamental assumptions underpinning the operation of high-speed transportation systems.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and its transportation technology spin-off Swisspod have unveiled an operational test track for ultra-fast transportation solutions.
The prototype track is described as the “first operational hyperloop testing facility in Europe”. In a press statement, the partners said they hope it will act as a catalyst for the global hyperloop effort and “a crucial leap forward for the evolution and adoption of sustainable intra-continental mobility solutions”.
The infrastructure is constructed in a circular shape to simulate an infinite hyperloop track and accommodate a diverse set of experimental conditions, such as different levels of pressure, speed, and trajectory lengths.
Swisspod anticipates its hyperloop system will be capable of transporting passengers and cargo from Geneva to Zurich in only 17 minutes or New York City to Washington DC in just 30 minutes – faster than a plane with a fraction of the carbon footprint.
Swisspod worked constructively on the optimal design of the facility that is owned and operated by the Distributed Electrical Systems Laboratory (DESL), EPFL.
“With this reduced-scale test track, we will be able to study the fundamental aspects of our pod’s electromagnetic propulsion and levitation system”
Swisspod will benefit from knowledge transfer and synergies from EPFL as part of the joint effort. For the first research activity funded by the Swiss Innovation Agency, Swisspod and EPFL will join forces with Heig-vd, the School of Engineering and Management in Vaud Canton.
“With this reduced-scale test track, we will be able to study the fundamental aspects of our pod’s electromagnetic propulsion and levitation system,” said Mario Paolone, head of the EPFL’s Distributed Electrical Systems Laboratory.
“We’ll use the results to enhance the pod design and make the loop operate more efficiently.”
The first research activity at the facility will be undertaken in the framework of “Project Limitless”, which stands for “linear induction motor drive for traction and levitation in sustainable hyperloop systems” which aims to develop and validate a novel linear induction motor.
This motor is a key part of the hyperloop propulsion system. Limitless is funded by the Swiss Confederation through a grants programme administered by Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency promoting science-based innovation and knowledge transfer for Swiss industry and society.
“This collaboration represents a great opportunity for Swisspod to join forces with world-class EPFL colleagues. We bring into this project sharp business acumen and high-quality engineering to develop an efficient solution that will be brought into the market in four- to five years,” added Denis Tudor, CEO and co-founder of Swisspod.
Swisspod is a hyperloop startup founded by two winners of the SpaceX hyperloop competition, Denis Tudor and Cyril Dénéréaz, with headquarters in Monthey, Switzerland, and a US office in Miami Beach.