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Elon Musk gives us the goods on Hyperloop

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August 12, 2013

Elon Musk has revealed the design and details of his proposed Hyperloop transit system

Elon Musk has revealed the design and details of his proposed Hyperloop transit system

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He may be the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, but Elon Musk has been garnering more attention lately for his proposed Hyperloop transit system. Although virtually no details had previously been announced, Musk has stated that it would serve as a much faster, more efficient alternative to traditional passenger rail transport – more specifically, it would allow passengers to travel the 350 miles (563 km) from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes. Well, this afternoon (as promised) he finally let everyone in on just what it would be, and how it would work.

Many people had been envisioning Hyperloop as something akin to a giant vacuum tube with electromagnetically-suspended capsules running inside of it – these capsules would be loaded with passengers and simply be sucked along.

According to Musk’s announcement, however, one of the problems with such a setup would be the fact that the air column within the tube would build up in front of each capsule as it traveled down the tube. He likens it to the resistance you encounter when trying to push a plunger through a syringe full of fluid. His solution? Put an electric compressor fan on the nose of each capsule, that would draw the air through it.

Design sketches of the Hyperloop capsule

This would also provide a means of suspension, as the drawn-in air could be expelled through vents in the bottom of the capsule, creating a very low-friction cushion that would keep the vehicle floating softly within the tube – while it traveled at speeds of up to 700 mph (1,127 km/h).

An onboard battery would reportedly be sufficient to run the fan for the whole LA to SF trip, but something else would be required to provide propulsion. For that, Musk is suggesting an external linear electric motor, built into the inside of the tube. In his words, it’s “simply a round induction motor (like the one in the Tesla Model S) rolled flat.” In the near-frictionless tube, a series of these motors placed about one every 70 miles (113 km) should provide enough of a continuous boost to keep the capsules moving at sub-sonic speeds. All told, the sections of the tube containing the motors should make up less than one percent of its total length.

The motors would be powered by photovoltaic panels mounted on top of the tube, which Musk claims could generate “far in excess of the energy needed to operate.”

A cutaway view of the Hyperloop tube

He estimates that the capsules and motors will cost several hundred million dollars at most, with the price tag of the tube sitting more around several billion, but that it would still be cheaper than the planned California bullet train. Additionally, he notes that it should be easier and cheaper to build, as it could just be placed up on giant pylons over existing land, mostly following the Interstate 5 highway.

Each pylon would contain two adjustable lateral dampers and one vertical damper, which would be used to keep the tube level in the face of shifting ground and thermal changes. Additionally, telescoping sections at each end of the tube would be included to tweak its length as needed.

Finally, it should be noted that Musk doesn’t plan on building the Hyperloop himself – he simply wants to get the design out there, for other parties to run with.

We’ll have more of an in-depth analysis soon. In the meantime, techy types can read up on all the details in the PDF available via the link below.

Source: Tesla Motors

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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52 Comments

I hope someone does run with it. It's to bad we can't just clone this man, we need more MUSK'S!

This look pretty cool, California should ditch their overpriced train and build this instead, even it it ends up costing the same and taking just as long, it's still a WAAAAY faster transportation method.

Derek Howe
12th August, 2013 @ 03:00 pm PDT

Maybe the billions we Californians voted for for high-speed rail would be better spent on this. Worth thinking about.

FZ
12th August, 2013 @ 06:42 pm PDT

Ok..

Now that we have the vision of the most entrepreneurial man on earth (Apart from Richard Branson, and a few others possibly)

The other day I commented that it was unlikely that the Musk proposal would be wildly different to other proposals out there....

Check out projects which were proposed in the 1960's, such as the "Rohr Aerotrain" it was an air cushion vehicle with linear induction motor in the guideway... and many others..

QUOTE :"So in 1965, they looked at rapid rail transportation. They looked at air-bearing systems that traveled in sealed air tubes called tube system vehicles (TVS). They looked at linear propulsion methods. The scale they covered was from the small local commuter transport systems such as the Urbmobile, to the very large super highways for freight trucks only and for specially designed computer controlled cars."

I'm not saying that this proposal is stupidly obvious, but that it is erally just a mishmash of many components which everyone with interests in mass transit and energy efficiency, have seen before...

However the Public will be wowed by the greatmess which it Space-X (And I love the grasshopper) maybe these systems need a face to get other entrepreneurs to hand over significant sums of money (which Elon, and Richard aren't rich enough to afford even with their great wealth, they need acess to the Fed's money machine.)

PS, powering the hover motors using batteries is a stupit idea, if there is surplus electricity in the system, it would be MUCH better to pwer the hover motors using grid power, and save the tonnes of batteries which would otherwise be needed. Also, what sort of guideway is intended, and what stability studies has Mr Musk carried out., what energy calculations have been made, id order to state that no energy storage would be needd using a PV solar powered utility scale system... (Solar Thermal is more suited to large scale installations (which this is).. or is this just a back of the envelope ramble, hell.

Nice to see vision out there. Better still to get some bureaucrat to break a sod.

Scuse the ramble, I have an interest in such (transport) systems.

MD
12th August, 2013 @ 08:24 pm PDT

Everything seems good but if I want to go to toilet what I am goingt to do at the ride:) It seems like a biggg problem:)

Utku Gurcag Boratac
12th August, 2013 @ 08:51 pm PDT

Where is the efficiency suppose to come from?

Slowburn
12th August, 2013 @ 09:38 pm PDT

Inducing the airflow through the ductwork at the speed of sound will make it very noise for the occupance.

Robert DuBois
12th August, 2013 @ 09:39 pm PDT

In the very near future teleportation will be the chosen method of distance displacement: it saves the use of real estate for better uses (like natural) and, visiting Mars will be fun.

NikolaT
12th August, 2013 @ 09:49 pm PDT

I'm skeptical on my of the technical points, certainly skeptical that it could be done for the price tag Mr. Musk proposes. But I don't think the problems are insolvable.

The bigger problem, I suspect, is political. OK, we have this lovely mode of transport that goes from San Francisco to LA, and is only any good for traveling between large city-pairs. But all the people in the in-between places will have to pony up their cash for it (or at the very least forgo property taxes on the right-of-way) while getting no good out of it whatsoever.

That, not necessarily technological hurdles, is why proposals like this have always failed. Any rapid transit system has to have enough intermediate stops that everybody is within a convenient car ride from a station, and intermediate stops make vacuum trains infeasible. So there's never enough political support to get the job done.

justme70
12th August, 2013 @ 10:41 pm PDT

regarding noise... consistant noise is easily countered by inverse phase noise cancelling technology... the idea of a fan to suck the pressure wave through is genius i admit, but why run it on batteries when you can just use close proximity induction right through the skin of the train to get power? I too am doubtful about the energy requirements though, I have nothing to work with, but I am very skeptical about photovoltaics being sufficient to propel something so heavy at such speeds (even if the friction problem is vastly reduced).. you need to supply enough power for the magnetic propultion and all onboard systems (including the fan in my opinion)

SciFi9000
12th August, 2013 @ 11:39 pm PDT

A closed loop system would insure differential pressure would be equal. Thus the force pushing from behind, would be equal to force in the front. Also the E-Thrust project by EADS (European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company) would be an ideal motor to produce the force on demand as it is fully electric. Having the motor independent from the conveyance would reduce noise and vibration, and the vehicle would weigh less and carry more. Super idea. Why didn't I think about that? Oh yeah cause I'm not a millionaire.

Ikeleaka Kaluva
12th August, 2013 @ 11:41 pm PDT

Fir an easy look at the Proposal [... edit: it's here: http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf - Ed]

There are still supersonic issues to get over. They intend to compress the bypass air to 20 bar, and cool it using air to water heat exchangers. Offloading the process heat (steam) at the stops.

They know that it is a grandiose plan, and unlikely to get off the ground in the near future...

Another, is that the pressure in the tunnel is supposed to be equivalent to 120000 feet, imagine a decompression event at that altitude, they seem to forget about the need to pressurise the cabins. (Hoping that the air sealed in at the start of the trip will be adequate... (except in emergency situations).. Another: the Speed of sound at 120000 feet is only around 310 m/s (700 mph) meaning that at the proposed speed, this craft will be well in to the supersonic realm. Earlier than the general public realises. (Musk plans to operate up to 760 mph).

I love the idea, they have done some simulations, but a simulation is only as good as the information input. Can't wait for a working scale model to be shown.

MD
13th August, 2013 @ 01:59 am PDT

@MD

When you put out like this then I conclude that Mr. Musk's business plan is to let others take the risk and sell batteries.

Kris Lee
13th August, 2013 @ 02:01 am PDT

The idea of propulsion with an on-board fan appears to be a conventional aircraft body riding in a slippery tube. A slippery tube will greatly reduce the air resistance simply by removing the wings and tails.

Flying inside a tube will transfer the cost of taking off, gaining altitude, air navigation, landing, and parking, into the creation of a tube complete with the stations. Traffic management will remain as it is now.

Going all green with solar energy is mandatory, but not necessarily a good idea.

Threesixty
13th August, 2013 @ 02:08 am PDT

I wonder just how painful the air pressure variations would be should this idea ever come to fruition, which is most unlikely.

Mel Tisdale
13th August, 2013 @ 02:35 am PDT

There's a good reason why these kind of projects don't go anywhere. Very high risk (unproven tech) + high cost. From the investment point of view - that's the least tempting offer going. Incremental developments of existing trains which may be high cost but are low risk.

Musk is just putting the idea out there. Ideas are cheap...

Facebook User
13th August, 2013 @ 03:35 am PDT

We the Americans live on hype. Remember the bubbles (Internet and Housing) if this was suggested by unknown character it would have sat on desk under the pile of scores of other ideas collecting dust not money.

This idea as with any other ideas need to be scrutinized top to bottom before given the hype as it is given now.

anmufti
13th August, 2013 @ 04:13 am PDT

In the past, we have worked on prototypes like Bertin's aérotrain. After, we got maglev. Then, we're looking with children eyes to Hyperloop. But, beetween the 60's and now, IT came, we can calculate, anticipate, any system with precision. E. Musk project is not silly. In the PDF document, no trace of use except passengers transportation. But, how many trucks and trains can be remplaced by Hyperloop during times with no passangers in board? Wich level of pollution can be deducted from diesel trucks, trains, or ships consumption?

(I hope you understand me because I'm french and I'm never sure that my english is good enough).

I've studied the project readen the 60 pages. I've wrote to Tesla for bringing constructives propositions. For me, this concept is as fool as Appolo experimentation. But Appolo has worked... So I trust in this idea too...

Jean-marc Doniat
13th August, 2013 @ 06:14 am PDT

If man was meant to travel sub-sonic speeds in a dark vacuum tube, he would have developed evolutionary adaptations such as sloped forehead and skin that doesn't wrinkle at speed...oh yes, and running wheels (landing gear) that prevent friction burns when the inevitable pressure losses occur.

Mirmillion
13th August, 2013 @ 08:30 am PDT

@NikolaT - I'm afraid the safe, regular Teleportation of anything we might consider 'alive' is a minimum of a century away - there is not yet anything (other than, maybe, 'God') that can scan, analyse, de-construct, transmit AND re-construct not only the molecular make-up of any living thing, but also that thing's soul/spirit/id/intelligence or whatever (combination(s)) MAKES it 'alive'. So, your 'very near future' is a bit out, time-scale wise.

@funglestrumpet - The 'cabins' will be pressurised (as high-altitude jets aircraft are), so 'we' won't feel the changes.

@Mirmillion - Man already travels at sub-sonic speeds in a dark...tube - it's called the underground/the metro/the subway, etc. And if this really IS a 'vacuum tube', there'll be no need for the 'sloped forehead and skin that doesn't wrinkle at speed' because we won't be 'pushing' against the air - just 'riding' with it. Your point about 'running wheels (landing gear)' is somewhat valid, though.

leafygreen
13th August, 2013 @ 09:48 am PDT

At those speeds, it would be best to remove the air in the tube it self but that would necessitate more heavy duty building materials (to overcome 15lb/sq in air pressure).

However, we already have a pretty darn good air transport system which already deletes all the extra tube and support infrastructure.

Perhaps, the exciting reason for considering this is that it would be "new" and "would" use solar energy.

What would be more exciting is to build 60,000 modular nuclear reactors or about 100,000 concentrated solar thermal power towers globally. This way, all of the old as well as the new would be powered by awesome low carbon energy without worrying about trees and clouds getting in the way!

Robert Bernal
13th August, 2013 @ 09:51 am PDT

Robert Heinlein (Friday) and L. Neil Smith (The Probability Broach) were there first.

Both authors detailed evacuated tube/capsule transportation systems in their novels.

Decades ago.

The only thing new from Mr. Musk were the fancy pictures :-)

flink
13th August, 2013 @ 09:53 am PDT

Whoopee. All that buildup, then it's basically a knockoff of the better-thought-out Evacuated Tube Transport design (see http://www.gizmag.com/et3-vacuum-maglev-train/21833/) which has several good features:

1) National pipeline design and construction for gas and oil is a very mature industry. Keeping the tube diameter down leverages that.

2) People prefer cars to trains, and they also keep diameter & cost down. So it uses high-speed "tube cars" using linear motors and mag lev that get on and off from stations, similar to rest stops on interstates.

Overall the taxonomy of these kinds of project ideas is:

Very fast long distance transport -> electric trains -> vacuum linear motor designs ("vac trains" is the common term for this category) -> surface designs (vs subsurface) -> various tube designs.

Dan

Dan.Magorian
13th August, 2013 @ 10:00 am PDT

Let's not get all worked up about this folks. This looks like it was based on Project Tubeflight developed by Dr. Joseph Foa at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute back in the '60s. You can find out more at this link: http://digitool.rpi.edu:8881/R/M4QM56GN4MTYFBV29LM1H9L8KK52VKNP896BBEU5EMR587M5KP-02153?func=search-simple-go&local_base=GEN01&find_code=WTI&request=An%20introduction%20to%20project%20tubeflight

GizEngineer
13th August, 2013 @ 10:04 am PDT

So California is going to spend a TRILLION dollars that they don't have, building a train that accomplishes the exact same thing that our airliners already do efficiently and safely ?

Capt. Mark
13th August, 2013 @ 10:37 am PDT

Every time that I go to California via auto, I make sure to have food, water and other survivor tools... in the event of an earthquake. And since earthquakes NEVER happen in California, I guess I was being a tad bit paranoid.

Can you imagine zipping along at 760 miles per hour, pretty as you please, when a significant earthquake stuck? Well, at that speed, death for mere mortals would be quick and painless but a spectacular news event. "OH, the humanity!"---Hindenburg reporter on the scene.

lwesson
13th August, 2013 @ 11:03 am PDT

This technology needs a "common sense" think...like exposure to strong electromagnic fields on the human body, plus all the other field effects is not a good idea. We don't even consider this for electric cares, there is strong human health factors here. Plus this is a flying coffin if something goes wrong, a very bad idea for sure...another "gee wiz" idea thats short on common sense. Regarding the comparision on trains all the real experienced companys in the world were ignored in the California planning instead they gave the contracts to people and companies with no experience but high on political connections...and greed in their soul.

I rest my case!

Bruce L Erickson, MotherEarth Media (& Research).

BLErickson
13th August, 2013 @ 11:23 am PDT

Sounds all rosy and scifi, but in today's world impractical. There is a reason air travel and the automobile are king these days. The idea of a tube limits the travel destinations and the proposed speed and efficiency limit the number of stops along the way.

Whereas airplanes and motor vehicles have the infrastructure already needed, the tube and its support structure still needs to be built. The routes and the land needed will be hard to get in some areas. Then we have the greenie weenies who will try and halt the project to save some toad some where.

And then there are maintenance costs for hundreds of miles of tunnel, not to mention the support crews or security. Its not like the current rail system which is in place, has rights of way and a huge support system and a niche transporting bulk items. One thing you notice about the rail system is that people don't take the rail with very dew exceptions. In addition the trains carrying people are heavily subsidized.

On security, if ya look at the accidents involving rail and how horrendous they are ... not to mention how expensive. The tubes would be a terrorists dream and with hundreds of miles of largely unprotected tube, well the disaster is waiting to happen. If you believe the tubes can be protected just look at the Mexico/USA border.

I see this as a pie in the sky idea that will just siphon off funding and enthusiasm. But, the older I get the more pessimistic I am.

Daniel Harbin
13th August, 2013 @ 11:35 am PDT

Capt. - How did 6 billion become a trillion?

Facebook User
13th August, 2013 @ 11:45 am PDT

Whew! I got out of Tesla stock just in the nick o' time.

Fritzio
13th August, 2013 @ 12:28 pm PDT

I'm old enough to remember when President Kennedy challenged the USA to be the first to put a man on the moon. We rose to the challenge and did it way back in 1969! Why not a Hyperloop?! We need the political leadership that would cut through all the regulatory red-tape and clear the way for America's first real 21st Century transportation. We can't afford NOT to do this or something better!

John H. Freeman
13th August, 2013 @ 12:45 pm PDT

the terrorist angle is enough to scrap the whole idea along with any possible good that may come . is the possibility of a seismic event that could kill everybody in the tube Why not live closer to your job so you don't have to take such risks and why are we in such an all fired Hurry all the time ?

James Jordan
13th August, 2013 @ 01:03 pm PDT

Looking at the passenger cabin -- claustrophobic comes to mind. While as an adult getting in sitting down and not moving for 30 minutes isn't too hard there will be a bigger challange for children. Younger kids will be crying for mom or dad quickly. What about nursing mothers? Bad configuration for families with say more than 2 children when those kids are out-of-reach? Seems perhaps worse than current airliner travel ?? (Though perhaps they can run "adults only" cars at a premium?)

Mr. Jim
13th August, 2013 @ 03:12 pm PDT

I wanted to be impressed by the idea but unfortunately but it was presented with inaccurate information and carefully chosen formulation.

First, train transport is not less safe by two order of magnitude than flying. Depending on chosen statistics train can have better, equal or worse (by only one order of magnitude) safety than air transport (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_safety#Statistics).

Second, I can see a lot of references to supersonic air transport. As far as I know there is no plan to make any therefore the comparison with it is as meaningful as a comparison with teleportation.

Third, any meaningful comparison of travel time in case of air travel should include the trip to airport (usually outside the city), check-in, baggage claim and trip from airport to destination city. It would result in a much worse value that train travel.

Forth, the pressure inside the tube was disguised as 1/6 of Mars pressure, actually 100 Pascals is 1/1000 of normal Earth pressure, which is considered medium vacuum. Also to give a reference of how high 150,000 ft is Concorde was flying at 60,000 ft, SR 71 Blackbird was flying at 85,000 ft.

At this point it was show-stopper. This idea is trying to hard to present itself as something feasible. At least we know who was a fan of "The Core".

ClauS
13th August, 2013 @ 03:18 pm PDT

I think the road infrastructure in this country is far from where it could be. And with vehicle automation on it's way, we should start thinking in that direction. I can envision super highways possibly with communal power supplies. I'm sure that we can get electric vehicles up to some pretty high speeds as it is.

But what might be even better when considering costs would be this same automated travel that employs virtual highways in the sky (possibly just off the ground). Although the technology for the flying cars, busses or trains has yet to be developed.

Snatr
13th August, 2013 @ 03:48 pm PDT

Does anyone remember the Simpson's episode about the monorail?

DiverMan
13th August, 2013 @ 04:22 pm PDT

Need bigger cabins for adults, flat screen TV, audio controls, & bulkhead route map & Escape hatches or Exits.

& have system run from LA to Las Vegas aside SF to LA

Later routes

Denver to Chicago or Cleveland, Miami to Tampa to Orlando.

Wash DC to NY, Boston, Baltimore etc

Need depots to service trains & exit hatches in tubes to exit IF any stopped capsules.

More can be done but love idea.

See movie Gensis 2 with subshuttle ( from Gene Roddenberry)

Stephen N Russell
13th August, 2013 @ 06:03 pm PDT

(The CA high speed rail system has little to do with transportation, but is primarily a way to shift precious resources to cronies. It has to be made to appear amazingly glorious and sophisticated ... then, it seems, society endorses / embraces the flim flam because they are somehow flattered by it)

A real positive step is to apply these and other principles to trucking commodities up and down the i5. Human high-speed transport carries so much risk, etc., that it stalls actual development, but it could later ride on the tails of a successful, evolving, pony express / bucket brigade, branch-able high speed shipping system.

Darick Nordstrom
13th August, 2013 @ 06:12 pm PDT

How often does anyone need to take this trip..Isnt aircraft easier and it already exsist's..Invent a more economical way to fly for the mass

Roger Aikins
13th August, 2013 @ 09:37 pm PDT

A very very expensive rail system.

I'll take a plane.

Slowburn
13th August, 2013 @ 09:41 pm PDT

Let me get this right, it's a vehicle that travels on a bed of air... uses motors for propulsion .. and which part of this isn't a plane in a tube?

Wouldn't it be better to get rid of the tube, use GPS for navigation and solar panels with wifi electricity so that you aren't trapped inside a radiation chamber on your way between bus stops?

Murray Smart
13th August, 2013 @ 10:17 pm PDT

If you read the 57 page report then you will find mathematical errors in the conversion to metric measurements. Also, some measurements seem to make the pods larger in diameter than the tube itself. Some earlier comments also found errors as well. So if this was a term paper it would get a D- for not proofing for errors.

Elon and crew better revise the manifesto and send updates to Wikipedia if they truly want to move ahead.

Gary Richardson
13th August, 2013 @ 11:15 pm PDT

One terrorist with an RPG could wreck it and kill a lot of people. 700 MPH car ripping along in near vacuum and suddenly it's confronted with surface level air pressure.

Like SPAM in a can dropped from a tall building.

Gregg Eshelman
13th August, 2013 @ 11:52 pm PDT

Jeez, everyone being so negative about this "CONCEPT".

Could the answer lie in reducing the speed - I mean the high-speed train proposal is a lousy 130mph, so it's not hard to beat that. Current bullet train is around 285mph, so just push that boundary a little.

How much easier and cost effective does this loop system get if you scale the speed back to 300 to 400 mph? Still a vast improvement on the train.

JPAR
14th August, 2013 @ 02:45 am PDT

You naysayers have no vision!

I can't wait to attach a giant fan to the front of my car. I expect reduced drag, increased top speed and better fuel efficency, but watch out pedestrians.

Insightfool
14th August, 2013 @ 03:24 am PDT

@MD: The speed of sound depends mostly on (the sqrt of) the temperature. So even if the pressure is the same as at 12000 ft, it does not follow that the speed of sound will be the same---the air at 12000 ft up has a low speed of sound because it is cold up there. It wouldn't be, inside the tube.

Unfortunately, this thing is competitive with airplanes only when you assume that it wouldn't have the preposterous boarding delay that is imposed on air travel. But the hyperloop would end up having quite the same delay, because the same security measures would be applied to it. You would have to check-in an hour in advance so they could doublecheck your ID, then wait another hour in the line to take your shoes and belt off and have your arse x-rayed, just as you do when boarding a flight. And that delay would kill any advantage that the Hyperloop had to begin with.

Freederick
14th August, 2013 @ 02:10 pm PDT

I only see one reason this wouldn't happen, in a word, GREED. We would all be living in a better place if greed didn't get in the way.

We would have cures instead of managed care, jobs instead of welfare,

who knows how far we could go if the powerful pocket didn't have so many in a strangle hold.

Gargamoth
14th August, 2013 @ 03:09 pm PDT

I have persistent error in accessing the PDF linked...hence cannot comment on any "errors" contained. Perhaps, I am now geographically discriminated from accessing top secret/ open source information in Cali?

(everybody else seems commenting away on the PDF....is it lousy me -failed to load PDF on ANY of my multiple browsers - is it lousy Europe, my current location, or is it lousy Elon Musk blog??? I failed both the link above and blog.access...a hoped the issue would get fixed over the days but nope. Something else is involved(?)

I am upset with the naysayers over here. I am very, very upset.

I was looking forward to see enthusiastic endorsement from withing a tech-geek community and instead ...it looks like everybody gets cheap ego-trip by tearing down on an audacious proposal. You look so much cleverer - even genius - that way. That is ugly, guys!

The hyperloop is definitely feasible technology-wise AND budget-wise also.

The unsurmountable trouble is about crony politics . NOTHING will fly in the US....only more and better PRISM programs will get funding in the police state... The fear mongering about RPGs terrorists that is pretext for shooting this bold vision down is the same that drives the "investments" into NSA and Prism. Yes...sit down in your cave and FEAR!!! FEAR!!!

(you can never know when an outsider with a pressure cooker shows up on the scene and locks down a whole city)

nehopsa
15th August, 2013 @ 02:57 pm PDT

The problem with the idea of building a 700 mph train along the right of way of I-5 is the curves. They're fine for vehicles traveling at 70 mph, but the G forces felt by the passengers of a 700 mph vehicle going around those curves would be way too high for survival, much less comfort.

HenryFarkas
16th August, 2013 @ 08:30 am PDT

Six Billion Dollars is not much of a problem. The public has expressed an interest in spending roughly 10 times that cost for slower transport on the same route. There are other options. We all know of Companies & Individuals with tens of Billions in ready Cash reserves. Any one of them might write a check for the whole thing.

The problem is not really engineering either. Tubes, pumps & turbines are fairly well understood, though it's probably not a good idea to loop through an intense magnetic field with a pacemaker or artificial hip. Cargo transport is still a huge value proposition.

If politics is a problem in California... no problem. The project is in the wild now. Somebody is going to build this. In the process, they will create new jobs and entirely new industries.

Seth Miesters
16th August, 2013 @ 08:49 am PDT

To establish historical truth must write in your article about the following:

This is an invention of the great scientist and inventor Henri Coanda novel. He invented and patented this means of transport in the mid 20th century. Henri Coanda invented the world's first jet aircraft, that flew in 1910. Henri Coanda discovered the effect named after him. Coanda effect.

Mihai Nazare
19th August, 2013 @ 12:11 pm PDT

Why? - twice as fast and 1/10th the energy compared to aircraft. (page 9 of the linked pdf). Curves and G forces - all calculated and explained in the pdf. Not a new idea - so what? It may have been thought of but no one has done anything like it or even seriously analysed an proposed it as Musk has done here.

Tony Morris
19th August, 2013 @ 07:58 pm PDT

Elon Musk's Hyperloop project might just be aimed at pleasing Big Oil in oder to grant Tesla further goodwill from the US government -- here's a clue to this hypothesis:

Big Oils experts being no more stupid than I am, they're likely to anticipate that the all-electric car is the ideal launchpad for the personal electric aircraft (the flying model T), because once the electric power plants (battery + motor) are mass-produced for cars, they're due to become available for ultralight personal rotary-wing aircraft of the tilt-rotor or the cycloidal rotor type, enabling airborne individual mobility to replace the motorcar for intercity travel -- much to the dismal of Big Oil and the tenants of power who want to keep the masses grounded forever.

This said, as fully automated flight is just long-standing state-of-the-art, myriads of... manned drones (yes, manned drones!) will enable the civil society to challenge the current total military control of the airspace -- all the while taking advantage over the tenants of power in the longer run not by outnumbering their military UAVs, nor by potentially more flexible commando actions, but by... simple return on investment, be it only through the incalculable savings on road-building and maintenance costs.

And since personal aircraft of the future will fly by themselves, they may as well serve as... public transport modules!

euroflycars
24th August, 2013 @ 11:41 pm PDT
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