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MR. DIREKTOR: WILL WARR HYPERLOOP SOON BE BUILDING A TUBE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND TAKE THE TRANSATLANTIC BUSINESS AWAY FROM THE FREIGHT AIRLINES?
Paul Direktor: Perhaps next year. However, on a more serious note Hyperloop is not competing with airfreight. Moreover, in the future it could supplement it, for example as an express or supply solution to render airfreight hubs even more efficient.
Dorothea von Boxberg: Hyperloop could, in particular, replace transport operations on the road in particularly heavily congested transport areas. Short and medium-range routes are the field in which Hyperloop solutions could prove successful. One shouldn’t forget that Elon Musk’s longest tube is currently only a little more than one kilometer.
Paul Direktor: In Switzerland, a university team at ETH Zurich is already working on implementing a package transport system using vacuum pipe technology. It is called Swissloop and the Swiss are, of course, renowned for tunnel building.
Dorothea von Boxberg: Hyperloop is not a technology set to be commercialized on the market in the near future. However, the number of ideas that have been developed in that respect in the past few years is impressive. Hyperloop taking on the “last leg” from an airport to a major city could, for example, considerably speed up e-commerce consignments.
WHAT DO YOU FIND FASCINATING ABOUT THE “SPACEX HYPERLOOP POD COMPETITION”?
Dorothea von Boxberg: It is fascinating to see how these selforganized student teams have developed their ideas with such success, above all if I compare that with the typical project periods in major groups.
WHAT WAS THE CRUCIAL EXPERIENCE FOR YOU WHEN YOUR STUDENT INITIATIVE SUDDENLY HAD TO COLLABORATE WITH SUPPORTERS FROM INDUSTRY?
Paul Direktor: The times. Internal processing times of more than four weeks for example are completely normal for invoices at many companies. In such a four-week period just about anything can happen to us.
WHAT IS NEW ABOUT THE CURRENT HYPERLOOP CONCEPTS COMPARED TO THOSE 15 YEARS AGO SUCH AS THE CARGO CAP, WHICH WE HAVE REPORTED ON IN “PLANET” IN THE PAST?
CRITICS SAY MUSK IS MAKING TOO MUCH OF A SONG AND DANCE ABOUT IT
Dorothea von Boxberg: He is an impressive visionary. Many of his ideas are not incremental improvements, but moreover moonshot ideas. The path to a sustainable business in that respect is significantly more difficult than in the case of smaller innovations. His company Tesla has definitely seriously shaken up the automotive industry.
A part of the team with their current pod, which in July this year won the 3rd Hyperloop Pod Competition achieving a speed of 467 km/h. In addition to the speed team, WARR Hyperloop has a levitation team, which was similarly successful and intends to make use of the Transrapid technology.
WHAT INTERESTS DO LUFTHANSA CARGO AND WARR HYPERLOOP SHARE? DO YOU INTEND TO INVEST MS. VON BOXBERG?
Paul Direktor: Lufthansa Cargo is a global company with a good network. We are interested in exchanging know-how and developing first business cases for Germany.
SO IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT PR?
Dorothea von Boxberg: We had already established contact with the WARR Hyperloop team before the sponsored events. But if someone wants to interpret that simply as PR I won’t disabuse them of that notion.
WHAT INNOVATIVE IDEAS IN THE LOGISTICS SECTOR BEYOND HYPERLOOP DO YOU CURRENTLY FIND EXCITING?
HOWEVER, THE LOGISTICS SECTOR IS NOT EXACTLY REGARDED AS A MODEL OF INNOVATIVE PASSION
Dorothea von Boxberg: We are doing that. I believe artificial intelligence is the technology that we will use first at Lufthansa Cargo. In that respect among other things this means self-learning algorithms can determine prices and automatically allocate freight to free capacities. Some of our services are already being rendered via API interfaces and these are used by several platforms to present an overview so that ranges can be compared. In other industries that’s nothing special. However, in airfreight it is quite innovative. My general aim consists of making our range available to our customers effectively and simply. We have quite a lot of work ahead of us.
WHAT DID YOUR VISIT TO WARR HYPERLOOP MEAN FOR YOU IN RESPECT OF ADDRESSING THE CURRENT LUFTHANSA CARGO AGENDA?
The first WARR Hyperloop pod was a success thanks to its design. At the front it has a compressor that minimizes the air resistance in a partial vacuum tube.
MS. VON BOXBERG, YOU ARE THE NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER AND CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER. WHAT CAN ONE LEARN FOR THE PRODUCT FROM INITIATIVES SUCH AS WARR HYPERLOOP OR STARTUPS?
IS AN EXCHANGE WITH A START-UP IMPORTANT TO BE OF INTEREST TO TALENTED YOUNG PROFESSIONALS?
AT PRESENT THE NEWS IS INCREASINGLY CHARACTERIZED BY NEGATIVE ECONOMIC REPORTS SUCH AS PUNITIVE TARIFFS AND EU SCEPTICISM ETC. IS THERE ANY ROOM LEFT FOR INNOVATORS LIKE YOU MR. DIREKTOR?
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN WARR HYPERLOOP TO GET RICH AT SOME POINT?
IS A CULTURAL CHANGE POSSIBLE IN A TRADITIONAL COMPANY SUCH AS LUFTHANSA CARGO?
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!
That also impressed Elon Musk: WARR Hyperloop’s third pod was faster than the pusher pod of SpaceX and Tesla.