The Dream Of Hyperloop Could Turn Into Reality
We all heard about Elon Musk’s hyperloop proposed project and got pretty excited by it. For those who haven’t heard about it: It is an inter-city tube that speeds passengers riding in capsules at 600 miles per hour.
The people behind the proposal have now taken the next step to advance the project, by producing a report which points out the issues that surround the project.
The 76-page report by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies places emphasis on the issues of a system connecting San Francisco with Los Angeles. However, there are many other city pairs around the world which can be considered for the hyperloop infrastructure.
With the hyperloop, a 400-plus-mile trip would now take less than an hour, when in fact it takes more than six hours of driving. However, the goal is to keep the ticket price within $20 to $30 since the total cost of the project estimates $16 billion, and the ticket range could go higher.
However, the hyperloop is still a good bargain, compared to other modes of transport.
“If this same overall price point were preserved for other city pairings, it could dramatically change the way people live and work in cities,” the report says.
Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and rocket producer Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) had announced the hyperloop project last year, but haven’t talked much about it since.
At a very crude level, the system will work like those centuries old tubes where messages were transferred using air pressure in banks, newspaper offices and other agencies in the mid-20th century.
“The Hyperloop design uses a combination of low air pressure and magnetic acceleration to get people from LA to SF in just about 30 minutes,” the report says.
Moreover, the hyperloop tubes will run on its own electricity produced from solar power.
It seems very techy and futuristic, but it is still in the seedling phase. That is also evident from the debate in the report regarding the materials to be used in the tube – whether it should be fiberglass, steel or some other material.
Passengers would travel in aerodynamic pods, the size of vans inside the tube. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has also looked into the details of developing three designs like in airplanes and other transport – one each for luxury passengers, economy passengers and freight.
However, there is one basic issue – bathrooms. The designers are still debating on how to integrate a bathroom with the technology and tubes. Regardless of how short the trip is, this is one basic necessity the designers should not leave out.
HTT has estimated that the cost of the system would be $20 million to $45 million per mile. Governor Edmund G. Brown is supporting the construction of high-speed rail between the cities, which is also a system approved by voters. But the main problem of costing still remains.
HTT says there are about 100 people working on the hyperloop project — and it invites more discussion.