The entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled on Monday 12 August details about the transportation system called Hyperloop. It seems that if it becomes reality, it would be the world’s fifth major form of transportation, including planes, trains, automobiles and boats. Putting it into operation could start another revolution in transportation of persons.
„When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?” Musk wrote yesterday in his article on the official website of Tesla Motors.
Environmental benefits and technological obstacles hob-and-nob
Insurance site Gocompare.com created an infographic that illustrates the rumoured details about Hyperloop. The high-speed transportation system would be solar-powered, immune to weather and what is interesting as well, should never crash. It would be based in an underground vacuum tunnel. Hyperloop will have twice the speed of a commercial aircraft. The estimated cost of its constructions could be only about 5 billion Euro. In comparison with California`s proposed High-speed train it is ten times cheaper.
„The Hyperloop is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper. With a high enough altitude and the right geometry, the sonic boom noise on the ground would be no louder than current airliners, so that isn’t a showstopper,“ explained.
The future transportation system will be also eco-friendly. It should produce twice energy as it spends and will cost considerably less than a high-speed train. The oil dependence will be reduced and there will be less carbon emissions produced.
Anyway, there are various obstacles which need to be crossed. For instance, the Hyperloop route from point A to pint B has to be nearly a straight line because of the too big lateral forces generated in curves. It will have to be constructed on platforms high above ground because of running through many cities, or, in underground tunnels. Both options bring together many logistic problems.
Who is Elon Musk?
According to his personal website, Elon Musk is an engineer and entrepreneur who builds and operates companies to solve environmental, social and economic challenges. Musk’s achievements in business and technology have been widely recognized. Time Magazine included him on its 2010 TIME 100 list of 100 people who most affected the world. Esquire Magazine named him one its 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, and Forbes Magazine named him one of America’s 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under. Based on his work at SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Solar City, Research and Development Magazine named Musk its Innovator of the Year and Inc. Magazine named him its Entrepreneur of the Year.
Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, is no stranger to the transportation business. He is trying to reach space travel via SpaceX, and is introducing a new luxury class of electric vehicles with Tesla Motors. The coming months will show what would be the real impact of his high-speed travel system. On August 12, 2013 Musk unveiled a proposal for transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The entrepreneur named his proposal Hyperloop, a supersonic air travel machine that stretches 1500 km. According to Wikipedia, the idea is similar to the tubes used to ship mail or packages between buildings.
Musk also suggested that his design won’t be patented and Hyperloop will be open-source.