Elon Musk and some of his Spacex and Tesla engineers are working on something he calls the “Hyperloop” which will be a “cross between a rail-gun and a Concorde.”
He said this was be a new kind of mass transport system. “I want something that is faster than a plane, costs less, can’t crash, and is immune to weather.” It also can’t have a right of way issue, where people have to give up their homes.
But he would reveal more details later, after he’d completed more calculations.
In mid-November, Elon Musk said he would publish a paper on his Hyperloop transportation system “in the next month”.
Elon says he wants no controlling role in any company which might emerge from the Hyperloop system: “I just want to put it out there in a way that doesn’t require me to do day-to-day execution… I would like to do less, actually. I tried my hardest to avoid being CEO of Tesla. Running two companies is not the most fun thing in the world.”
So Elon also did not want to be CEO of Tesla but ended up with that job anyway.
Register UK – Musk affirmed the goals of the system, and repeated his basic specs for a mass transit system that could reduce journey times between San Francisco and LA to 30 minutes.
These included that it should be “faster” than other methods, “ideally crash-proof” and “weather-proof”.
Musk also made the not necessarily obvious point that it should cost “much less than other models of transportation”.
It should also “leave when you arrive” he said, which presumably points to a more personal, taxi-like system, rather than the type of staggered trip schedule that would put him in competition with EasyJet or Ryanair.
As for potential blocks on the plan, he noted that we live in a “built up world” so there “can’t be a right-of-way problem”.
Addressing the inconvenient issue that previous generations tend to have already cluttered up most of the places where you might want to install your transit system with homes, offices, parks, etc, may be a bigger challenge than developing that cross-between-a-rail-gun-and-Concorde that would shoot people from one end of California at approaching 800 miles an hour.
It would of course be much easier, from a planning point of view, to build a Hyperloop system in a green field site… Mars, for example.
The place on Earth where there is the political will to get the right of ways and the engineering capability to push ahead with a technically superior rapid transportation system is China. China could rip out any outdated high speed rail or build a Hyperloop beside existing routes while they phased over to a new system.
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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