Using magnets to propel trains is not a new technology but it is still far from being perfected or even just implemented on a large scale. There are currently only four operating systems in the world that rely on magnetic levitation. Two of the trains operate in China, the others are located in Japan and South Korea.
A video from YouTube channel Veritasium takes a look at the technology on a much smaller scale. Host Derek Muller talks to Casey Handmer, Levitation Engineer at Hyperloop One, who shows off the principles of the levitation behind Hyperloop’s transportation system using a 47 kg (105 lb) quadcopter.
Muller explains how the spinning magnets create the lift necessary to levitate the machine, and how the specific configuration of the magnets focuses its power in the desired direction.
Recently, Elon Musk let it slip that his Boring Company tunnels will work in tandem with Hyperloop’s pods. The system would use levitation technology to propel these pods at speeds exceeding 600 mph.
Hyperloop systems are not the only in development around the world, although they are the most high profile. Another train is in development in China that could connect people between distances similar to the distance between New York and Atlanta in less than two hours.