TransPod Joins International Hyperloop Consortium

Hyperspeed underground travel may still be a pipedream, but a new partnership is hoping to bring more regulation to the futuristic tech.

TransPod has entered into an agreement with three European hyperloop companies to develop a framework and worldwide standardization for the industry. The companies involved include Hardt Hyperloop from the Netherlands, Zeleros Hyperloop from Spain, and Hyper Poland from Poland. TransPod itself is based in Toronto but has strong ties to Europe with offices in Italy and France.

Hyperloop is a fast and energy-efficient means of transportation that involves building a low-pressure magnetic tube network—often underground—to transport people and goods through high-speed corridors. TransPod could take passengers from Montreal to Toronto in 45 minutes, though the line would cost over $15 billion to construct. The company has received a lot of hype and support in the past.

“The future of vacuum-based transportation is predicated on its ability to virtually shrink distances and create a much more interconnected economy and true global community,” said Sebastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO, TransPod. “We’re working with other leaders who are passionate about re-imagining and improving the way we live and work, to ensure we don’t develop this new technology in silos, but rather through a cooperative effort to ensure high levels of safety and interoperability.”

This new consortium is planning to take hyperloop technology to the next phase of development. The group has invited researchers, industry members, and regulatory bodies to take part and engage in discussions around best practices and policy.

“We are marking the beginning of a new era in high-speed transportation and cooperation in hyperloop standardization is key to ensure that the whole world benefits from it,” said Juan Vicén, co-founder and CMO at Zeleros. “Now is the moment to demonstrate the full potential of global innovation combining efficiently the best from aerospace, railway and vacuum industries.”

Overall, the goal for this group is to make sure hyperloop technology can be implemented faster through widely adopted safety and regulatory compliance. The goal is for the technology to cross borders and make international travel quick and simple, so if every country can agree with one another on what it means to run a “safe” hyperloop, progress towards installing routes will be much quicker.

TransPod’s CEO has recently been critical of Canada’s slow adoption of the new technology. Gendron said if their home country remains hesitant to begin testing, they may have to move their headquarters to Europe.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the required support so we’re starting the testing in France,” he said in an interview with CTV. “If we wait until the risk is zero, fine, but the company may not be anymore in Canada. They’re telling us everyday that Canadians need to be bold, ambitious, take risk and develop innovation. So now it’s time for execution.”