Is the Hyperloop the future of travel? The mode of transport that will top trains, planes, boats and automobiles?
Elon Musk certainly thinks so. Plans for his new pneumatic travel systems, the Hyperloop, are being unveiled today. The system boasts delivering passengers between US cities faster than the speed of sound.
Unlike other plans and ideas that fall down the side of the drawing board or never even make there, this idea is backed by a Silicon Valley believer who is known for making science fiction a reality.
For those of you who haven't heard of Elon Musk, this is the billionaire behind PayPal. Oh it doesn't end there. He went on to launch spaceships in his SpaceX venture – the first private operation to dock a cargo capsule with the International Space Station. There's more. He also founded Tesla, which made electric cars viable and profitable. Not surprising to hear he's been labelled as the real life Tony Stark.
Less about the man, more about the design!
- He's hinted that it will be powered by solar panels
- The "Vactrain" will be very low friction, moving in a vacuum tube
- The design will be open source meaning anyone can have a go at modifying or replicating it
The first to have a go at guessing Musk's design is John Gardi, a technology enthusiast from Canada who posted a diagram on how he thought the Hyperloop might work. In Tweeting Musk asking for clues, Musk replied saying he was the closest yet.
Gardi concluded with: "I believe that Hyperloop is merely a modern day version of the pneumatic tubes used in banks, stores, and industry to move money and small items over long distances or to other floors of a building. They've been around for over a century, though not so much these days. One reason I think Hyperloop is simpler than folks think is that Elon Musk has resurrected another technology from the depths of time, one that was a contender once, too – the electric car!"
Musk believes the Hyperloop can be built at a fraction of the cost and deliver passengers in 30 minutes compared to the California bullet train which is predicted to cost $68 billion and be completed by 2028.
Safer than air travel and quicker than all the current modes of travel including the train, is this going to be the disruptive technology in the future of the transport industry? Let me know what you think.