Dezeen Magazine

PriestmanGoode unveils Hyperloop passenger pods that are "more spaceship than train"

PriestmanGoode has designed passenger cabins for a company that is setting up high-speed Hyperloop transportation networks all around the world.

PriestmanGoode is developing the interior and exterior of cabins for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the two main companies responsible for building the transportation system of near-supersonic speeds.

The company revealed its work-in-progress visions for the Hyperloop capsules at the Design Frontiers exhibition at Somerset House, which took place as part of London Design Festival last week.

Speaking to Dezeen, PriestmanGoode chairman Paul Priestman said designs were informed by the futuristic nature of the Hyperloop network.

"We're working towards a final design for a prototype build," Priestman told Dezeen. "The look and feel is very much more spaceship than train, because it's a new form of transport."

The design would see 30-metre-long pods able to accommodate between 28 to 40 passengers. Each would be designed according to different typologies, such as casual coffee bars, more luxurious suites and commuter-style cabins.

Instead of windows, the cabin interior will feature virtual displays that wrap around each pod. As well as being able to set different displays – such as a night sky – cameras on the outside of the tube would let passengers track where they are.

"From a design point of view, we wanted to create a striking-looking object," said Priestman. "When you look at it, you respond to it by asking 'what is that?'"

"Because of the engineering restrictions, we're having to look at those issues too – the design isn't pure styling," he continued. "We're having to try solve issues such as doorways, vents, and how the pods  interact within the tube environment."

For the duration of the week-long exhibition, designers and engineers from the London-based firm were based inside Somerset House – giving the public a glimpse of the working process behind each of their projects, one of them being Hyperloop.

Priestman said the design process of this project is similar to the firm's past high-speed train projects.

"When we're designing a train, we're given the parameters to design around, and we're not really thinking of where it's going to run," he said. "It's the same with Hyperloop – we've been given the measurements of the capsule and how people will board it."

"It's the dream project," he said. "We're defining a new form of transport, you don't get to do that every day."

Hyperloop is the vision of entrepreneur Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors and space exploration company SpaceX, as well as an early investor in online payment company PayPal. The concept involves propelling passenger capsules at high speeds through near-vacuum tubes.

Musk open-sourced the technology and is no longer directly involved in its development. HTT is just one company working to realise the transport system.

HTT employs a passive magnetic levitation system, in which magnets attached to the underside of the pods levitate them from the track. Thrust from linear motors then propels them forward.

The electromagnetic levitation of the train means there is no friction – unlike traditional trains that run on tracks – enabling passengers to travel at speeds over 1,000 kilometres per hour (600 miles per hour).

The technology would enable passengers to travel from Mexico City to Guadalajara in 45 minutes. Other lines are planned between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a journey that would take 12 minutes, and to connect Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest in under 20 minutes.