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Dec 2, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Hyperloop: 13-year-old girl designs safer version of supersonic train

At a mere 13 years of age, budding engineer Caroline Crouchley has dreamed up a new version of the Hyperloop, the supersonic train invented in 2013 by Elon Musk. Instead of having passengers travel in tubes, the young American has designed a system which can run on existing infrastructure.

Photo credits: Kevin Krejci/Flickr

Caroline Crouchley, a US girl just 13 years of age, has already proved her worth as a future engineer at the most recent hosting of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a scientific competition reserved for youngsters. Specialist website Fast Company reports that the high-school student caused a real stir by putting forward an improved version of the Hyperloop supersonic train project that Elon Musk came up with in 2013. The current challenge in terms of the technology is to design capsules capable of moving at very high speeds in tubes under low pressure, and the development of the Hyperloop is currently struggling to overcome these hurdles.

A totally redesigned Hyperloop

No fewer than three companies are currently trying to develop a marketable prototype of the supersonic train which is hoped will achieve speeds of 1,100 km/h. Some experts however believe that the project is quite simply "unrealistic", according to French magazine Capital.

The Hyperloop as seen through the eyes of Caroline Crouchley is vastly different from the original. The teenager has totally changed the concept, and instead of having passengers in a tube, she suggests leveraging existing rail infrastructure and the trains currently in service. She believes that all that would be required is to install a tube near to the locomotives and fit it with a magnetic shuttle. This in turn would be connected to the train to pull it along using a system of magnets.

Furthermore, by using existing infrastructure, the Hyperloop would be more environmentally friendly than in its original version. "We also need to be looking towards viable public transport," Crouchley insisted, "and as things stand, trains are currently the most ecological method of transport."

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