On August 12th, 2013 Elon Musk outlined his idea for a fast, relatively inexpensive model for transportation – the Hyperloop. Based at least in part on the idea of a pneumatic tube, the Hyperloop was said to be not only faster and less expensive than a high-speed rail system that had been approved for construction, but perhaps most surprisingly, that the Hyperloop was even possible in the first place. The system described by Musk would shoot passengers through a tube at speeds up to 800 mph, offering a theoretical trip from San Fransisco to Los Angeles in just a half hour. Immediately after the announcement, Musk opened up all of his research and asked for any interested parties to pick up the ball and run with it. Musk, as you might know, is pretty busy these days running Tesla Motors and SpaceX (both Techaeris favorites).
Almost a month after the announcement, a California startup had picked up that ball, and opened a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for initial funding. On Friday, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) released their report on the project, including feasibility, costs, construction timelines, technology, etc. They found a few differences from Musk’s initial ideas though. For example, they’ve found that a HyperLoop system likely won’t ever hit the top speeds that Musk hypothesized, instead settling for a mere 470 mph. They’ve also outlined several safety concerns, described in much greater detail at the source links below.
The best part – HTT is not only confident that they could have a Hyperloop system up and running within a decade, they’ve also expanded their scope and believe that a national rollout would be possible. The map below shows a potential system of HyperLoops to shoot passengers all around the country.
In fact, the technical and construction hurdles are the least of their worries. Top of the list – will people actually use it? They can raise all of the money to build a Hyperloop, and even build the Hyperloop itself, but if people don’t use it, all will be for naught.
Really, anything that gets us closer to this:
is totally OK in my book! For a refresher on Elon Musk’s original ideas for the HyperLoop system, check out the video below.
Would you use a HyperLoop if it were available to you? What concerns would you have? Let us know in the comments, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.
Featured Image Courtesy of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies