Envisioning a supersonic travel experience

The Hyperloop is a conceptual high-speed ground transport system proposed by entrepreneur Elon Musk.

An image of hyperloop branding next to a rendering of a car entering the hyperloop

The concept suggests aerodynamic “capsules” containing passengers, vehicles, and other cargo could be pushed through pressurized tube on cushions of air at supersonic speeds.

There has been much discussion of the economics and technology behind the Hyperloop, but very little exploration of what it would be like for the average person to ride it. argodesign has developed a series of conceptual renderings to show what the Hyperloop terminals, platforms, capsules, and capsule interiors would look like to a passenger.

Our concept is the result of ideation and design sketches by argo designers and reflects a possible design direction for the Hyperloop.

In developing our concept we made the following assumptions:

We would focus on the larger capsule design that could transport not only human passengers but vehicles and other cargo.

While the theoretical speed limit is over 700 mph, we chose to design for a working version that would travel at a top speed of 300-400 mph. This was based on further exploration of the concept by different engineering groups and the belief that speed bumps, sharp turns, and g-forces may induce motion sickness. Hopefully, slowing the Hyperloop down helps to minimize these effects.

A cut-away rendering of the Hyperloop cabin

At slower speeds, humans would be traveling for multiple hours, and thus more traditional passenger compartments would be necessary. Passengers would need to periodically stand up and move around, and use the bathroom. Depending on the length of the trip, it might be necessary to have an attendant and other on-board passenger services.

We would not at this time concern ourselves with the economics of implementation. It is still early in the process and we challenged ourselves to create a realistic yet imaginative design that could serve as a spark for further exploration.

A rendering of a conceptual Hyperloop cabin space

Early on, we decided to focus on creating a modularized system.

This system would be easily and automatically configured, even up to the last minute, and provide the flexibility needed for various passenger services and cargo types.

The Hyperloop contains four removable capsules for carrying passengers, vehicles, and cargo. When engaged, the capsules are fastened to the Hyperloop sled, a single contiguous vehicle chassis that also contains the front-facing intake air compressor. Says argo designer Chipp Walters, “After studying both the initial plans and the engineering assessments, we realized it would be critical for our design to expedite the exchange of passengers, vehicles, and cargo. To that end, we developed the concept of a capsule jukebox, which would lift capsules off the Hyperloop sled and onto the departure/arrival platform. There they could be changed, configured, loaded, and unloaded. A second platform would be used for maintenance and loading of vehicles.”

Another key insight was that the relatively narrow capsule interior could be claustrophobic for travelers.

“We developed a concept for digital wall screens, called Tripscenes, to create a feeling of openness and discovery during travel,” continues Walters. “In this way we turned the limitations of the Capsule space into a key part of the journey’s appeal.”

Four images of the conceptual hyperloop cabin with different environments shown through the windows: clouds, undersea, above earth, and desert

Tripscenes could include clouds, pastures, and even outer space and underwater scenes. They could also display route and trip information helpful to passengers.

A rendering of the conceptual Hyperloop cabin desert

argo’s Hyperloop design is not a fully engineered solution, but rather an exploration of what it might be like to visit a Hyperloop terminal and travel inside one. The design is an exercise for our team to contribute to the Hyperloop project, and we hope it stimulates discussion and thought on future design directions.

From trains to cars to airplanes, there's always been a certain romance associated with modern travel... We wanted to explore how Hyperloop could take shape as a delightful and memorable experience for travelers.

Mark Rolston

Founder & Chief Creative Officer, argodesign

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