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Around the world in 0.083 days: Acabion's vision for future transport


January 31, 2011

Acabion foresees elevated roadways will be needed to accommodate the streamliner's speed

Acabion foresees elevated roadways will be needed to accommodate the streamliner's speed

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Pneumatic Futurama-style transport systems were proposed as far back as the late 1800’s following the invention of pneumatic tubes for carrying mail around buildings. Swiss company Acabion sees such vacuum tube-based mass transport systems becoming a reality by 2100 and has conceived a vehicle capable of traveling at speeds of almost 12,500 mph (20,000 km/h) on such a platform. The company envisages a global network that would let users circle the globe in less than two hours and make transcontinental journeys possible in less than the time it currently takes to get across town.

The first step in Acabion’s grand vision for the future is the latest version of its GTBO road-ready streamliner – the GTBO VII “da vinci.” This fully electric vehicle would have a top speed of 373 mph (600 km/h) would be orders of magnitude more efficient than a current fully electric compact car.

Thanks to its reduced projected area, turbulence and aerodynamic drag, weight and rolling resistance, Acabion says at 12.4 mph (20 km/h) the vehicle is eight times (or 800 percent) more efficient and at 124 mph (200 km/h) it is 10 times more efficient than a current fully electric vehicle, however, the company claims efficiencies 25 times (2,500 percent) greater than such vehicles are ultimately possible.

The GTBO has been designed for speed and efficiency. Like the Zerotracer, it drives on two main wheels like a motorcycle, with two additional side wheels activated when driving at slow speeds or for parking. Acabion hopes to start selling its streamliners by 2015 for an estimated US$3 million but says prices will drop with mass production.

The company anticipates that, due to the streamliner’s speed potential, by 2050 new elevated roadways – like those mooted for cyclists in the Kolelinia concept – will be needed to separate it from its dilly-dallying forebears.

These fully automated high speed tracks would initially transport people at speeds of around 186.4 mph (300 km/h), before stepping up to 373 mph (600 km/h) in subsequent decades. The tracks would be used for both city and continental mid- and long-range trips with a 1,700+ mile (2,735 km) trip from Los Angeles to Memphis that would currently take more than a day cut to around four hours.

Additionally, the vehicles wouldn’t rely on their own battery packs for power but would draw their energy inductively from the roads themselves, which would be supplied with 100 percent solar power.

But even elevated tracks won’t suffice for the speeds people will be expecting by 2100. For long continental and intercontinental journeys Acabion envisages a global network of maglev-driven vacuum tubes, dubbed “traffic internet”, which will make it possible to travel at speeds of 12,427 mph (20,000 km/h). The company says that public commuter vacuum tube transport systems that would require larger tubes wouldn’t be feasible, but a 10-foot (3 m) diameter tube that would fit a streamliner would be. And such a system would still transport the same number as it would allow constant use instead of trains being spread out at regular intervals. Such a network would not only cross land, but also stretch through oceans, making a 30 minute commute from New York to Paris or San Francisco to Prague a reality.

While such a vision might seem outlandish now, Acabion is confident vacuum tube transport systems will come – and when they do, the company hopes its streamliners will be right inside, ferrying drivers around the globe at breakneck speed.

Via Wired.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

That sucks...


I am not sure I want to travel this fast......

Richie Suraci

Paulgo, Read the book of Acabion online at their web. Flip book section. I\'m sure you will change your mind after reading it. www.Acabion.com

Alex Lopez

Y\'know, i\'m fairly sure that was a joke...

Vacuum tubes, etc.?


no more pollution, no more car exhaust, or ocean dumpage! From now on, we will travel in tube! Get the scientist working on the tube technology, immediately....tube technology...... ,chop, chop, lets go.


Im not bothered that they stole my idea but they can do it justice. At no point did i say they should lay tubing in the oceans...lol idiots. They need to build a tunnel structure that surfaces at continental shelf boundaries in hard rock.

By using gravity to acelerate the passengers they can eliminate accelaration and deceleration problems by computing the required area required to go down , along and up so that on a limited amount of assisted deceleration is required on the receiving end.

It is also possible to have the pods much larger than their tightly fitting torpedo of an idea. In fact it is a requirement i put in my proposal where people can put there luggage next to thewm as they would a train.

The pod would simply adjust there angle such that people were always on level ground as the underlying structure would make it smooth going.

Assited acceleration could be used if the gravitational acceleration is too disconcerting for people in testing perhaps.

Anyways im thankful they reinvented my idea but hey they need to put some thought in to taking the guts of other peoples ideas as well. There was more to the system as well which serviced entire metropolitan areas with pods available to jump in like buses, that went to a destination using a transit system that allowed inter/outer country travel as well.


I\'m sure that wheels will not be necessary if Acabion visionary concept evolves for eletromagnetic propulsion transport.


haha this is hilarious, went through so much time to put together a bs website spouting more bs...

Vikram Vishwanath

Excuse me but there is no need for streamlining in a vacuum.


Well, it\'s all very interesting - theoretically. I not sure this is actually practical. What do you build these elevated roadways out of and where do you build them and at what cost? Can they withstand hurricanes/cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic ash? Where do you get the energy to drive them? I liked to believe that solar energy alone is sufficient but I keep hearing how it is not.

This requires a MASSIVE and prosperous economy. And a rock stable one.

It\'s a nice dream. I don\'t discount dreams as they allow us to explore possibilities. And this should be given further examination, but I just don\'t see it happening on a large scale. Parts of this will very likely come into existance, but not the whole concept.

Facebook User

And in world news tonight, February 1st, 2110, a vacuum leak in the trans-European transport tube resulted in the deaths of 3,000 people, as their cars decelerated from 12,000 mph to less than 100 mph instanteously, while bursting into flame.


I wish the initiative can get done fast. Vacuum transport is not new. Mathematical calculations suggest that if you bore underground in a straight line connecting different parts on the surface of the earth, regardless of the surface distance you just need 83 mins to travel from every point to another, all around the world in frictionless environment.

Akemai Olivia

20,000 kph? That\'s a lot of sucking! I think they should start with an SPS - Small Parcel System that gets everything to your door or maybe the end of your street. Move the goods only and not the cars and people!


I have considered vacuum tube trave for some time but do not think it is practical at this time for the following reasons: 1. The tube would be very expensive to build. 2. In the event of a leak, air would enter and removal of air would have to be for the entire volume of the tube. 3. The system to maintain the moving transport part would have to be in perfect alignment since any contact with the side of the tube would result in high frictional forces at that speed. 4. The number of people that could be transported would be relatively small for any time period. The tube could not be used for transports at short intervals for safety reasons.

We do not have the technology at this time, though it is a good idea.

Adrian Akau

Love the Acabian GTO, but this idea is bogus. Building that sort of infrastructure is only practical for MASS transit; i.e. TRAINS. Vacuum trains could surpass rail, maglev and air travel in shear speed, but the cost of constructing the required \'transit tubes\' would be astronomical. Maybe Acabian needs to just finish the job and add wings and a propeller to this road-running bobsled of theirs. Awesome, but ludicrous....


Interesting concept, Akemai. I\'m curious, how do we build the tubes through the semi-molten mantel that underlies the earth\'s crust? At temperatures of about 870C (1600F) to 3700C (6700F). Not to mention the solid iron core at the center of the earth, which is even hotter than the surface of the sun?

I won\'t even ask how we dig tunnels that are 3,000, 4,000, up to 7,000 miles long.


It\'s 5000 km from london to new york. If you want an even amount of acceleration and deceleration, you have to get to 20000 km/h by half way (2500 km). The since v^2 = 2as, then a = (v^2)/2s = 400 000 000/(5000000) = 80 m/s^2 that\'s a mean acceleration/deceleration of a cool 8g. Minimum. If there\'s to be a bit of constant speed in the middle, you need to accelerate faster. Since you pretty much pass out at 7 or 8g, I don\'t think we\'ll be seeing these speeds any time soon.

Kevin Channon

No doubt utopian idea!

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Est. $300,000,000 per km of costs (development, land purchase, construction, operation of vacuum system and administration, equipment and vehicles, energy).

Waaaaaaay too much, and out of reach of even a global economy for ONE tube.


Matt Rings

Sorry, made an embarrassingly elementary mistake with the units in my calculation. I should have converted km/h into m/s. 1m/s = 3.6 km/h, since the velocity is squared then the figure I gave is too big by a factor of 3.6^2 (which is 12.96). The acceleration is thus reduced to a much more reasonable 0.62g and the whole thing is a lot more plausible again. Egg on my face :o(

Kevin Channon

In the \"nothing new under the sun\" category.....vacuum transport was commonplace for the Treens in Dan Dare\'s futuristic stories back in the fifties ! Forget the supersonic speeds , just to have smooth, comfortable travel in any weather conditions would be fabulous!


After you stop shaking your head and muttering WTF, Google http://www.mist-er.com/home-page.html for a transportation concept that is not only achievable, but is so inexpensive, it will return transit to the private sector.

Dave Brough

What? No flux capacitor? ...then you could arrive before you left!

Great for sci-fi, but considering that their 373mph vehicle has not gotten very far, much more reasonable interim goals should be set.

In all the 60 years of sanctioned Bonneville racing, there are only about 75 people in the 300mph club.

That should tell you something about actually going just that fast.

The first place to start is tires, since nothing currently exists that will last more than 10 minutes at those speeds (373MPH).

Then you can work on the roads, tubes.... or whatever else.

Dream Big, but take reasonable steps to get there.

As for the first comment, I think he was making a pun about vacuum.


Griffin, if an Acabion would be able to reach, for example 400mph in Bonneville, will you start to believe in Acabion?

Alex Lopez

Gene Roddenberry\'s Genesis II (made for TV movie) had Earth laced with these tubes...

Ricardo Ortiz

Nature abhors a vacuum. Think of all that matter and antimatter popping into existance and then colliding and obliterating them selves.

Just powering up CERN takes enormous power.. So sending people around like neutrinos will take ... infinity. Mind you with all that travel in vacumm and the speed and mass of an eventual collisions I'm sure someone will notice the God particle..


Karsten Evans
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