The Hyperloop – a new era of transport

 

Following on from last weeks’ Wayfinding Blog which offered a glimpse of the future of transport, we bring you one step closer to that reality with the upcoming unveiling of The Hyperloop.  Brainchild of Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Musk announced this month that “alpha” plans for the revolutionary transportation project will be revealed on August 12th

The Hyperloop, touted as the “fifth form” of transport, will be capable of travelling at speeds up to 1100 kph (685 mph), making the trip from LA to San Francisco (or Canberra to Melbourne for the antipodeans) in under 30 minutes.  The Hyperloop has been described by Musk as “a cross between a Concorde and a rail gun and an air hockey table”, and he claims that the plans will be open source. 

Generating almost as much conjecture as the “other” important birth this month, the technical community are now entrenched in their own speculations about how exactly the Hyperloop might work.  Suggestions are that it will involve travelling in an enclosed vacuum environment, which would eliminate the issues of noise and air drag that limits fast trains. 


In this interview with Musk earlier this year, he suggests the Hyperloop was designed to meet the challenges of existing transport: the system will never crash, it will be immune to weather, and has the potential to be 3 to 4 times faster than a bullet train and twice as fast as conventional aircraft.  Furthermore, the Hyperloop would run 24 hours per day, and not only be self-powered but in fact, would have the potential to generate more power than it consumes.  Musk also purports that the build cost would be one-tenth of the cost of an equivalent bullet train.  Where do we sign…?

So mark your calendars…August 12 could just be the dawn of a new era in transportation.  As with the royal birth, we will just have to wait patiently for all to be revealed! 

 

Once again, we thank Mihira Bodaragama, our resident tech-type for the tip.

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