Elon Musk's High-Speed Vacuum Tube Transport System Could Be a Reality by 2018
Everyone, into the pod.
While Australia pushes back the prospect of a high-speed rail (presumably for infinity), Elon Musk has been doing his usual incredible genius thing and has come up with his own high-speed transport system. Although it's not a train — it's a large, human-fitting pneumatic tube. And it looks like it's about to become a reality.
After first proposing the high-speed, compressed air-powered Hyperloop back in 2012 and establishing a headquarters in March last year, the Tesla, PayPal and Zip2 cofounder has now announced his plans to start erecting a five-mile test track in California. Their building company, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, has filed for construction permits in the Quay Valley. And if all goes to plan, the Hyperloop could be taking passengers as early as 2018. That means 2018 could officially be the future.
Described by Musk as a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table,” the proposed Hyperloop system would consist of a long route of elevated vacuum-sealed steel tubes, through which pressurised capsules ride cushions of air at speeds of up to 1220km/h. Just like Futurama. Designed to transport both freight and brave human passengers, Musk’s first proposed route would run from LA to San Francisco, cutting the roughly six and a half-hour drive time to just 35 minutes.
If you think that this idea sounds awesome, then you’re right — it’s straight-up awesome. There are however still a few small details to work out. Despite Musk’s initial assertions that the project would cost a ‘mere’ US$6 billion to complete, several economists have put the price tag closer to ten times that, if not more. There’s also the possibility that people might be a little reluctant to seal themselves inside a windowless metal pod travelling at breakneck speeds through the desert — although if the proposed US$20 ticket price holds true, it may be a preferable alternative to flying. We're sure anyone who's taken a delayed flight from Melbourne to Sydney lately will most probably agree.
By Tom Clift and Lauren Vadnjal.
Published on January 22, 2016 by Lauren Vadnjal