While people can get around just fine in cars, planes, trains, and boats, SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk isn’t quite pleased with transportation efforts yet. However, he thought up a new method that would transport people from one side of the US to the other in just 45 minutes, a trip that normally takes almost six hours by plane.
Musk announced via his Twitter account that he will be publishing the design for what he’s calling “Hyperloop” on August 12, and he will be graciously accepting “critical feedback for improvements.” The main idea behind Hyperloop is similar to how drive-thru banks work, where you transport money back and forth using a system of tubes to the bank teller.
Musk describes the Hyperloop system as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.” Hyperloop would a system of cross-country tubes that would consists of capsules capable of carrying six people and their luggage. It’s said that these capsules would be able to travel as fast as 4,000 mph using maglev technology that’s currently being used on bullet trains.
The tube system would be evacuated of air, so there would be no friction, and the passengers would only experience the same G-forces as riding in a car. Of course, all this sounds good on paper, but it seems like a huge undertaking when considering all points. However, it’s noted that Hyperloop would only need about 1/20th the materials of a high-speed rail line at 1/10th the cost, or 1/4th the cost of a highway.
Based on how Hyperloop would transport passengers, it’s said that the system could take on around 200,000 passengers per hour per direction, and a quick 45-minute commute from New York to Los Angeles could only cost around $100. A trip from New York to Beijing? Just about two hours. But seeing how hard it is to get a high-speed railway here in the US, it could be a long time before we see anything like Hyperloop make an appearance.