WATCH: Imagining the Hyperloop

A “cross between Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table,” Elon Musk's Hyperloop transportation system has TIME dreaming about the future.

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We don’t have personal jetpacks or hoverboards yet, but one piece of futuristic travel might be on its way. Later today, entrepreneur Elon Musk of Tesla motors fame will  announce plans for a mass transit system he is calling the Hyperloop. Musk describes the mysterious Hyperloop as a “cross between Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table,” that will transport rider from one side of the U.S. to the other in about 45 minutes. So what is the hyperloop? Here’s one guess before the official announcement.

6 comments
tonyalvarado440
tonyalvarado440

The Hyperloop is an exciting idea for fast distance travel, but similar to current public transportation options like California's Silicon Valley light rail system or Caltrain commuter train system, it relies on the public to travel to and from a designated train stop. If one were to use our BiModal Glideway system you’d be able to travel from door to door without relying on changing trains, busses or leaving your car in a crowded commuter parking lot during the day where it could be vandalized. Visit our website for a short video description and more information about the BiModal Glideway and leave us your comments or questions about our system. We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

Waaaaant.... I waaaaaaant. Please please please?? :D

I <3 trains anyway, and this would be soooooo much fun. 

KrisWilson
KrisWilson

Imagine above highways, simply another level of concrete supports with as many tubes as there are lanes on the current highways, buses of people, clear tubes for watching the land go by... On the nation's train tracks, the tubes could simply be built at ground level right on top of the tracks, and completely replace trains all together. The only limitation would be people's ability to withstand G forces, and the initial capital investment. If Obama wants to make something that will last, I think the DOT should get on this stat, just like they did with the Interstate Highway System of the 1950's and 60's.

KrisWilson
KrisWilson

It could be good for freight too, in off hours, which would totally revolutionize shipping, transforms the trucking industry to local operations, etc. I think it's only a matter of time, but talk about reducing the carbon foot print of transportation since creating a partial vaccum is way more efficient than gas. It would also link up perfectly with Tesla Motors because then people wouldn't have to worry about long hauls in electric cars cause that would be left up to the hyper loops. To me, the lack of range of pure electric cars is the biggest reservation people have. Make the hyperloops simply travel above major highways and potentially put a battery charger in each carrier...

Less crazy californians driving, or anyone for that matter, if it became a nationwide network with stop stations at major junctions/cities. This would mean less road deaths, while being able to be productive in the car instead of focused on the road... While I don't think it likely, terrorist threats are always brought up with new technologies, but any hole in the system would cut the power (partial vaccuum) system, and everything would just stop which is actually really safe compared to out-of-control moving vehicles...

hoppingbuffalo
hoppingbuffalo

This idea is basically uneconomical as was the Concorde.  Build one at Disneyland, but it's not going to move us around the planet.

We don't use maglev either.  It takes a lot of energy to levitate and ordinary steel wheels on steel rails is just as good.  Maglev tracks are also expensive and finicky while steel-on-steel is pretty inexpensive and robust.

Plan cities better also so people can live, afford to live, and live safely near where they work.  This eliminates the need for more expensive infrastructure.

IMHO there's a better chance of getting a VTOL high efficiency supersonic passenger jet than this tube.

jimmystephens
jimmystephens

The first subways in NYC were pneumatic. This idea is over 100 years old.