Musk’s Newer Faster Travel System

Hyperloop Design To Be Released To The Public On Monday

August 12, 2013

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

SpaceX founder and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk’s plans for a pneumatic travel system that moves faster than the speed of sound will be published on Monday, with the billionaire revealing he has no plans to patent the design and will allow other researchers to study, modify or develop it on an “open source” basis.

The system is known as the “Hyperloop,” and according to Nick Allen of The Telegraph, it is not the same as the “vactrain” (vacuum-tube train) concept currently being developed by a firm in Colorado. While few details were revealed over the weekend, Musk confirmed the system would utilize tubes, but not vacuum tubes, and would be low-friction, but not completely frictionless.

In addition, in recent weeks the 42-year-old PayPal co-founder said a design created by Canadian technology enthusiast John Gardi – which featured a tunnel that was nine feet in diameter, raised off the ground on pylons, and formed a complete loop between two different locations – was “the closest I’ve seen anyone guess so far,” Allen said.

Gardi’s design also utilized giant turbines that would fill the tube with a stream of air, while two-meter wide pods filled with people would be transported by an electromagnetic projectile launcher known as a rail gun, the Telegraph reporter said. When the pod neared the end of its journey, it would be shifted out of the air stream, and it would then have its velocity slowed by a magnetic braking system.

Musk first mentioned the Hyperloop back in May at D11, a conference put on by technology website All Things D. At the time, he described the concept as an alternative to California’s proposed high-speed rail project, which he said would be “the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile.” According to VentureBeat’s Dylan Tweney, Musk also went on to call the Hyperloop “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table.”

On Wednesday, during a quarterly earnings call for his electric car company Tesla, Musk admitted he believed he might have “shot myself in the foot” by bringing up the Hyperloop concept, noting he was “too strung out” to undertake the project himself saying he was too busy with Tesla, Tweney’s colleague Meghan Kelly reports. Musk did not rule out getting involved in the project and offering a helping hand, but he said he hoped to find someone else to actually build the transport system.

Largely due to his issues with California’s high-speed rail project, Musk aspires to have the first Hyperloop built in that state, connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, Allen said. Musk believes his transport project could be built for just 10 percent the cost of the proposed bullet train, and could allow passengers to move between the two cities in just 30 minutes instead of the anticipated three-hour travel time associated with the rail project.

“The bullet train is currently estimated to be costing $68 billion and may not be completed until 2028,” Allen said. “It would reach top speeds of only around 130mph. In a survey seven in 10 people said, if the train ever does run, they would ‘never or hardly ever’ use it anyway.”