The hype on the Hyperloop
Elon Musk reveals his Hyperloop futuristic transport system, which he says could transport people from LA to San Francisco in just 30 minutes.PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2rtxz 620 349 August 13, 2013
A design for a super-fast transport system dubbed ''Hyperloop'' - carrying passengers in pressurised tubes at near-supersonic speeds - has been unveiled by inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk in the US.
Mr Musk, who heads electric carmaker Tesla Motors and private space exploration firm SpaceX, released a 57-page document describing the project, which he claimed could connect Los Angeles and San Francisco in 35 minutes.
Mr Musk told a conference call this would be a new form of transport, different from traditional rail, and would carry passengers and goods in pods in a contained system elevated on pylons. ''This is designed to be superlight and trains are amazingly heavy,'' he said. ''This is designed more like an aircraft.''
In the tube: An artist's impression of the Hyperloop, which inventor Elon Musk says could carry passengers and goods in pods at speeds of up to 1220km/h. Photo: AP
The system is capable of speeds reaching 1220km/h, or Mach 0.91, according to Mr Musk's document. The technical paper said Hyperloop ''consists of a low pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube''.
''The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurised air and aerodynamic lift,'' it said.
Mr Musk said last week he was merely publicising the ''open source design'' and had no plans to actually build the system, but on Monday it appeared he was having second thoughts. ''I'm tempted to make at least a demonstration prototype,'' he said. ''I'm not trying to make a ton of money on this but I would like to see it come to fruition, and I think it would help if I did a demonstration.''
Mr Musk has previously called the system a cross between a ''Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table''.
While the system was envisaged to connect the two big Californian cities, Mr Musk said it would be economical for any link less than about 1500 kilometres.
He estimated the cost of connecting the cities would be $US6 billion ($6.6 billion), which could translate to a fare of about $US20 for a one-way ticket.
Mr Musk said he came up with the design because of his opposition to a high-speed rail project in California, which he claimed was more expensive and less efficient.