If the hyperloop technology on display at this year’s InnoTrans, the rail industry’s Berlin-based biennial trade show, includes a bit more Canada than expected, there’s a reason for that.
TransPod, a Toronto-based startup that was initially formed to meet Elon Musk’s model hyperloop challenge, but has since moved onto the larger goal of using its nascent technology to create a 30-minute link between Hogtown and Montreal, unveiled the full concept for its hyperloop pod in Germany this week.
The company has released two videos – one labelling the exterior, the other illustrating multiple interior concepts – and is now seeking funding to build a working model, which it hopes to reveal at the next InnoTrans in 2018.
“So far I have to say that I’m quite proud of the team – we’ve been able to develop some technologies that are putting us ahead of the competition,” TransPod founder and CEO Sebastien Gendron tells ITBusiness.ca. “It’s really the next generation of high-speed transportation.”
In addition to showcasing the proposed hyperloop’s design at InnoTrans, which runs between Sept. 20 and 23, the team is offering attendees a virtual reality simulation of the hyperloop’s proposed interiors, which range from the expected economy and businesses classes, to more elaborate concepts such as “family” and “work.”
Imagine hammering out an important presentation during your commute from Ontario to Quebec.
While the TransPod team is not currently discussing specifics such as funding or manufacturing partners, it has revealed that CoeLux, an award-winning architecture and design firm, is helping design the hyperloop’s interiors. TransPod is also collaborating with academic partners including the University of Toronto to make sure its designs are feasible, multiple industrial partners to ensure it can bring its ideas to fruition, and with agencies including Transport Canada to ensure the final product will pass inspection, Gendron says.
“All the work we’ve done so far has been to present that first transit concept and explain to people how it will work,” he says. “Our next step is to seek investment… and then two years down the road, have the full mockup ready for the next InnoTrans.”
In the long run, the company is giving itself between three and five years to build a final product and submitting it for agency evaluation, Gendron says, but that doesn’t mean all of its work will remain theoretical.
“We’ll definitely be working with our partners and looking into setting up a testing facility in the GTA in the near future,” he says.