Hyperloop: The Fifth Mode of Transport

Zachary McClelland, Co-Founder of VicHyper, discusses the future of Australian transport.

Illustration of Hyperloop, Source: National Geographic

Road, rail, air and sea vehicles are the four settled modes of transport that have been incorporated into everyday lives for many years now. But could there soon be a fifth mode of transport that could completely change the way we travel?

Zachary McClelland, Co-Founder of VicHyper, has been working on creating this vehicle which would travel at the speed of sound along with his team of RMIT University’s best and brightest.

McClelland shared the vision for VicHyper with the audience at OmniChannel Media’s CityDisrupt Sydney earlier this year.

“I want to introduce you to the future of high-speed transportation, the future of Australian connectivity and the future of Australia’s transportation system. Meet Hyperloop.”

RMIT’s dedicated students have started the process of changing the future of Australia’s transport system and quite possibly the world, working towards a design thought about by the technology progressive genius, Elon Musk.

The project is based around a large tube network which will levitate the pod through magnetic energy and electric motors, allowing it to accelerate at the speed of sound.

The structure of the Hyperloop is similar to a plane’s, only without the wings, which will allow for pods to be sent through a near vacuum tube.

Not only are VicHyper changing the future of transport, they are also successfully representing Australia on a global stage. VicHyper’s accomplishments in Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition suggests that Australia could be at the forefront of innovation in the years to come.

“Competing within the SpaceX Hyperloop top competition, VicHyper has defied expectations being selected as the only team from Australia [and the Southern Hemisphere] from the 1300 original entries, now down to 30.”

Hyperloop will have far-reaching effects, with its ability to send passengers and cargos at speeds of 1,200 kilometres an hour. It could make it possible to travel from Cairns to Sydney in under 30 minutes, meaning that commuting across the nation would be easier, quicker, and more efficient than ever before.

“Hyperloop is revolutionising the future of mass transit. It has the ability to transport both passengers and cargo at the speed of sound.”

Coming from regional Australia himself, McClelland understands the value of the extreme mobility that Hyperloop would provide.

“Hyperloop within Australia would allow people and businesses alike to take advantage of the affordability of living in regional towns and smaller cities, and also reduce the pressure of large metropolitan areas,” McClelland explained.

Although the VicHyper engineers are similar in terms of their ability and knowledge, the diversity within the team allows them to use their personal experiences to create an outstanding Hyperloop.

“We’ve won awards already on Australian soil for promoting diversity in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Half the team is born overseas or have one or two parents born overseas. A third of us are from rural or regional Australia and we are now up to 20% women in the team, so we’re progressive, ambitious and tenacious young individuals.”

McClelland assures that they are working diligently to make Hyperloop a reality and predicts that Hyperloop could be available in the next 5 to 10 years.

Now more than ever, the future is in the present.