A booster for mobility

Will we soon be travelling at speeds of more than 1,000 km/h? Faster than an aeroplane, but over land? Gabriele Semino and Catriona Bruce are project managers on the WARR hyperloop team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM); they talk about how close we have already come to achieving this goal. Robin Cresswell is the Head of Infra & Energy Americas. He explains why Deutsche Bank believes in and is investing in this project. Deutsche Bank’s continuous role in financing infrastructure projects is explained by Dr. Martin Müller, Head of Deutsche Bank’s Historical Institute.

A booster for mobility

Gabriele Semino on

... the hyperloop project: the basic principle of the hyperloop is a mode of transportation involving a pod that transports around 30 people in an airless tube. A vacuum is used because it eliminates aerodynamic drag. The main advantage of this system is speed: up to 1,200 km/h can be achieved – faster than today’s aeroplanes.

... the potential for innovative mobility solutions: several ideas for high-speed transportation systems were explored already during the last century. But now is a good time to start working on this again because many technologies have been developed to the point where they are ready for mass deployment and implementation on a large scale.

... the WARR hyperloop team: we are a truly diverse team made up of more than 15 nationalities. Different ways of approaching things come together – and this is what makes it so interesting and creates entirely new solutions.

... the TUM team’s advantage over their SpaceX competitors: unlike the US teams, we can spend really a lot of time working on the project. TUM permits us to do so full time as part of the degree course. In contrast, the US teams are not supported by their universities to the same extent. They can only work on it during their free time. And another advantage is major support from partners in industry.

Catriona Bruce on

... the SpaceX competition for the hyperloop project: this is now the third SpaceX competition. It is a little bit like building your own racing car with the main difference being that one day you will be able to travel in it. And there are no rules!

... a second chance for the transrapid idea: looking back on the past century, there were different approaches to magnetic-levitation trains. Back then, many thought there would be a transportation revolution. However, the recession in the 1970s destroyed any hopes. We believe that the gradual improvement of the railway system alone will not last forever.

... on the best opportunities for innovative infrastructure: many people ask me if I think the hyperloop will actually become reality one day. I think that there are so many countries in the world now with the ability to make real technological progress, yet still don't have an extensive rail network. It would make sense for these countries to build something new because after all, you don't want to invest a lot of money in something that amounts to outdated technology.

Robin Cresswell on

... the decision for the WARR hyperloop project: when you are investing in new technology, you also have to invest time in order to understand it properly. This is why we are sponsoring the WARR hyperloop because we learn a great deal during our discussions with the students. We get unique insights which helps us to understand things a bit better. And this lowers the risks.

... the opportunities a hyperloop provides: if a hyperloop is built, it will be categorised as an infrastructure project. One that not only makes travelling easier, but also a lot more environmentally friendly. I don’t know if the technology will actually go on to be built or not, but I think there are many good reasons for doing so.

... the effects of investing in infrastructure projects: we are pursuing developments over a very long period of time and have to be persistent. Our decision on what we invest in can have a major impact on millions of people. That is a huge responsibility. For example, in the WARR hyperloop project, we have the unique opportunity to do something positive for society – which is really great.

Martin Müller on

... Deutsche Bank’s continuous role: since it was founded in 1870, Deutsche Bank has continuously acted as an intermediary. It has always been about establishing contact and building bridges between inventors and industry on the one hand, and investors on the other. Obtaining financing for technical innovations on the capital markets and setting up companies are key tasks.

... the example of Berlin’s underground railway: what has largely been forgotten today is that Berlin’s underground was, for the most part, privately funded. And this was organised by Deutsche Bank. The archives of Deutsche Bank’s Historical Institute contain a series of extremely well preserved documents on the construction and operation of the City of Berlin’s over- and underground railway, which provide detailed information on the related financing and construction issues.

... the infrastructure of the future: thanks to its expertise, Deutsche Bank had already recognised the opportunities of building an underground railway as early as 1897. Founding a company and obtaining financing on the capital market meant that it took only five years to get the first line up and running. It goes without saying that this improved the lives of millions of Berlin residents significantly.

Franziska Pontow on

... the path to the WARR hyperloop project: as a bank, we want to build up knowledge and a network in areas that are strongly impacted by innovation and technology. This is how we got together with the WARR hyperloop team. I sent them an email, we met here at TUM and Gabriele Semino explained what the project and the hyperloop is about.