DHL Explores Future of Transportation
The future of high-speed, sustainable transportation may be even closer than we think, thanks to an innovative project organized by SpaceX and supported by companies like DHL.
The project involves a high-stakes contest that invited dozens of college teams to build and design the best Hyperloop pod that will be tested along a one-mile track at the SpaceX headquarters.
DHL Express is transporting what is known as the Delft Hyperloop, the work of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The prototype is being shipped in a specially-designed flight case and is scheduled for delivery to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 27. In January 2017, the Delft students will present their invention at the finals. The competition will be stiff, with such renowned competitors as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“As the quickest option available when it comes to global door-to-door transportation, DHL is pleased to support any initiatives that look to push the boundaries of logistics to new levels of speed and efficiency,” said Greg Hewitt, CEO, DHL Express U.S. “We welcome the opportunity to bring our capabilities, knowledge and global network to bear in support of the Delft team as they build a viable Hyperloop prototype.”
The Hyperloop is an idea born of SpaceX founder Elon Musk‘s desire for faster, durable, safe and reliable transportation. Its aim is to transport people and goods at a speed of 745 miles per hour, through tubes with very low air pressure. The result would be more energy-efficient transportation than what aircraft or train travel currently offer.
The tubes in the competition are half-shell prototypes and therefore unable to accommodate passengers. Made of lightweight but strong carbon fiber, the Delft Hyperloop prototype measures approximately 14 ½ feet long and three feet high, and weighs 328 pounds. It can attain a speed of 249 mph on the one-mile test track that is being constructed adjacent to the headquarters of SpaceX in Hawthorne.
As the logistics partner of the Delft Hyperloop, DHL is handling all transportation needs for the project. The company’s experience has helped in overcoming a number of challenges in this regard, including its expertise in Customs requirements and in-depth knowledge of air cargo regulations in shipping technology built with magnets and batteries.
In addition to the physical transportation, DHL has contributed to the feasibility of the concept and the selection of an economic model. Broad application of the technology for the transport of passengers and freight is an important factor for the economic viability of the Hyperloop. DHL has provided the project team with relevant proprietary data on the use of energy and the environmental impact of air and road transportation. This has enabled the team to benchmark the performance of the Hyperloop against existing modes of transportation, and to build a business case for the emerging technology.