Tag Archiv: 阿拉爱上海 自荐

A Step Forward in the Promise of Ultrafast ‘Hyperloops’

first_imgMOAPA, Nev. — Hyperloop technology, which promises to transport people and goods at speeds of up to 600 miles an hour, has long seemed too good to be true. But one company says it has cleared an important step toward commercializing it by moving two of its employees through a test system.Virgin Hyperloop became the first company to conduct a human test of the technology on Sunday at its 500-meter test track in the desert north of Las Vegas. The two volunteers, wearing casual street clothes, were whisked in a pod that was levitated by magnets inside a vacuum tube to 107 m.p.h. in 6.25 seconds.- Advertisement – The ability to move people safely at this stage of the technology’s development is not that important, said the company’s chief executive, Andres de Leon. “We’re testing the program from an engineer’s point of view, not from that of a marketer’s.”In the Netherlands, Hardt, a 35-employee hyperloop company, has built a 30-meter track that lets the company test its levitation, propulsion and lane-switching technologies. The company has teamed up with Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to research the feasibility of a hyperloop linking major airports in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and Britain. “This is a step of historical significance,” said Jay Walder, the company’s chief executive, pointing to 20 months of planning. “I don’t think you can overstate it. This is a moonshot moment. I have no doubt this will change the world.”Whether it becomes a giant leap for mankind is still unclear.Virgin’s test might be as symbolically important as it is crucial to the technology’s ultimate success. While the pod traveled at a much slower speed than what proponents of hyperloops claim the technology is capable of, company officials described it as a safety milestone.- Advertisement – Many experts are skeptical that the technology will live up to its grand promises or be economically viable.A truck striking the tube could shut the system down, said Carlo Van de Weijer, the general manager of the Netherlands’ Eindhoven AI Systems Institute. As the system aged, it would require expensive maintenance. Hyperloops also might not be able to transport as many people or goods as its proponents claim because individual pods would need to slow down to enter spur tracks.“Every breakthrough starts with a strange idea,” Dr. Van de Weijer said. “But not every strange idea is a breakthrough.”Like high-speed rail systems, hyperloop companies will have to acquire expensive rights of way, said Juan Matute, deputy director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.The tubes that carry hyperloop pods will need to be very straight for high-speed travel, and turns will have to be very wide. Once routes are set, acquiring every needed parcel of land could become a nightmare. “If a route has been picked, there are no alternatives,” Mr. Matute said. “Airlines do not have this problem.”Still, some government officials and hyperloop entrepreneurs are determined to pursue the technology. Virgin Hyperloop, which has doubled its work force to 300 over the last two years and has raised over $400 million, has selected West Virginia as the site for a certification center and a six-mile test track. The modern hyperloop concept was first described in 2012 by Elon Musk, the top executive of SpaceX and Tesla. He offered up the idea to anybody who wanted to exploit it, and neither he nor his companies are working on hyperloops.Virgin Hyperloop, which counts Richard Branson’s Virgin Group as a minority investor, is one of several companies looking to commercialize the technology, which they hope will eventually move passengers between cities, and cargo to and from ports.If it functions as advertised, travel time could be cut significantly — a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco could, for example, take less than an hour.Mr. Walder has intimate knowledge of transportation systems, having served as the head of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transport for London. Mr. Walder claimed that hyperloop technology could be the first new mass transit system in a century.“The U.S. Interstate Highway System, which began in 1956, cannot be the end of our imagination in terms of how we move around,” he said. With hyperloop, “we can have a fundamentally different transportation system.”Unlike trains, which run on fixed schedules, hyperloop pods would function more like smart elevators. Artificial intelligence would adjust destinations, the number of pods that travel in a convoy and departure times based on demand. The test also gives a sense of reality to an otherwise abstract sci-fi-like construct. “You can show the most elegant diagram but at the end of the day what is important is, will people ride it? This is an example of a picture worth a thousand words,” Ms. Luchian said. The riders sat in molded seats covered in white vegan leather, housed inside the all-white carbon fiber-clad pod.While the G-forces on the pod were three times that of an airplane, “it was much smoother than I expected,” said Sara Luchian, 37, one of the test riders and the company’s director of passenger experience. And unlike an airplane, there were no lateral forces that would have caused the pod to sway, she said. It has several projects in planning stages: a route between Pune and Mumbai in India; another between Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; and one connecting Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh.“We’re highly positive and very intrigued with the possibilities for hyperloop,” said Thea Ewing, a director for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.The council estimates that over 30 years, a hyperloop connecting those cities would displace 1.9 billion car and truck trips, reduce carbon emissions by 2.4 million tons and generate $300 billion in economic benefits.Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company based in Los Angeles and Dubai, has built a 320-meter test track in Toulouse, France, and is designing a 1,000-meter test track for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It has also formed a partnership with a container operator at the port of Hamburg to design a system to move cargo.center_img “It felt not that much different than accelerating in a sports car,” said Josh Giegel, 35, the company co-founder and the other volunteer rider.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Hyperloop companies have been encouraged by government findings that the technology is feasible. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation put the Federal Railroad Administration in charge of developing standards and regulations for hyperloops.In Europe, several hyperloop companies have created a technical committee to develop standards, which they hope will be adopted by the European Union.After Mr. Giegel and Ms. Luchian entered the capsule, it was pushed into a decompression chamber to await the creation of a vacuum. At that point, the gate valve opened and the pod entered the tube, ready for the test.Virgin’s successful human tests could give true believers in the technology a psychological boost. The company’s executives believe that the system will be commercialized by the end of the decade. But it’s the movement of cargo that Hardt is developing first. “It’s less risky and it’s easier for stakeholders if we don’t emphasize passengers,” said the company’s chief commercial officer, Mars Geuze. “It’s easier to take the smaller steps.”Two other companies, TransPod in Toronto and Zeleros in Valencia, Spain, are also working to develop hyperloop systems. “This technology could be the transition to the future we all want,” Mr. Giegel said. “Today we went from infancy to adolescence.” “The No. 1 question I get from investors is, ‘Is it safe enough to ride?’” said Mr. Giegel. “We’re everyday people, we’re not astronauts. This shows that it’s safe, and observers can take this back to their investors and interested municipalities.”last_img read more

Iranians fearful as virus infections rebound amid eased lockdown

first_imgWhile many people in Iran’s capital are taking advantage of loosened COVID-19 controls, some worry about a new spike in infections in what remains the Middle East’s deadliest virus epicenter. “The line of fools,” muttered shopkeeper Manouchehr, peering disdainfully at a queue of customers outside a foreign currency dealer in the Sadeghieh district of western Tehran.Many in the long line stood close to one another and did not wear masks. Topics : ‘Endangering our lives’ The capital’s streets, bazaars and malls are now bustling after being nearly deserted for weeks.Milad, a shopkeeper in a mall, was conflicted about the easing of movement restrictions.”All these customers coming in will endanger our lives — us who are forced to come” to work, he said.The mall gets very busy in the evenings, noted the 22-year-old, who did not wear any protective equipment.The COVID-19 respiratory disease has killed 6,640 people in Iran since the first two fatalities were reported in the city of Qom on February 19, according to authorities.Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi has called Tehran the country’s “Achilles heel” in the fight against the virus.Its eight million residents are densely packed together and the capital is a magnet for hundreds of thousands of workers from other provinces. The government moved to ease restrictions even as Tehran remained at red, the top level of its color coded risk scale.Schools, universities, cinemas and stadiums remain closed for now. A traffic policeman told AFP such queues have appeared regularly ever since the money changers re-opened. People rarely observe basic anti-contagion protocols, he complained.The government began paring back coronavirus controls outside Tehran a month ago, arguing that the economy — already sagging under punitive US sanctions — needed to get back to bare bones operations.It allowed small businesses to reopen in the capital a week later, before permitting malls to welcome customers on April 21 and barbers on Wednesday.At 802, declared daily infections in Iran on May 2 had reached their lowest level since early March.center_img ‘Life costs money'”People being careful made infections drop, but as soon as the disease was deemed less of a concern, we saw cases grow,” said Masoud Mardani, an infectious disease expert at the health ministry.The rise is “partly due to the reopening and people going out shopping,” he told the semi-official ISNA news agency, while also citing an increase in travel in Tehran province.Health officials have vowed to re-impose stringent measures if cases continue to climb, and have already done so in the southwestern Khuzestan province.But many Iranians remain adamant that they have to work to avoid financial ruin.”Life costs money,” said Hamed. “People have to go to work since this virus has been with us for about three months now.” The 22-year-old was among those out on the streets without a mask, deeming such protection “largely ineffective”.He had travelled over 150 kilometers from Qom to Tehran for banking business for the private firm that employs him.It is a trip he has to undertake every few days and says he cannot refuse for fear of losing his job.A few streets away, pedestrians were shopping for fresh vegetables and dried fruit — mostly women or older men, but this time, mainly in masks.”I think maybe only half the people follow health protocols” across the capital, said Zahra, a 30-year-old accountant. “Either people don’t care or don’t have the patience” to wear a mask, she said.Mohammad, a former building contractor, complained that masks were expensive and in short supply. A disposable surgical mask can cost from 49,000 rials (30 US cents, using the unofficial rate) to 10 or 15 times that amount for the better quality durable coverings.”They should have given them to people for free,” said the mask-less 58-year-old.But Mohammad’s biggest gripe was overcrowding on buses, where red crosses marked on half of the seats to ensure social distancing are routinely ignored. But this critical daily number has since begun resurging, breaching 1,500 on Saturday and, the following day, taking the total number of confirmed infections beyond 107,000.”The situation should in no way be considered normal,” said health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, who warned of “a critical situation” in parts of the country.In the capital, a member of the virus taskforce warned that current health protocols could not contain the spread of the illness in Tehran.”With businesses reopening, people have forgotten about the protocols,” Ali Maher told ISNA news agency, adding that “maybe it was too soon” to return to normal life.last_img read more