New Hyperloop design unveiled

By Park Sae-jin Posted : August 13, 2013, 12:45 Updated : August 13, 2013, 12:45
Entrepreneur Elon Musk has unveiled his proposed supersonic “Hyperloop” transport concept to link Los Angeles and San Francisco. The SpaceX, Tesla and Paypal founder envisions using magnets and fans to shoot capsules floating on a cushion of air through a long tube. If the Hyperloop is ever built, a trip on it between the two California cities would last about 30 minutes, he said.

However, Musk says he is currently too busy to develop the project himself. In a paper outlining the Hyperloop proposal, Musk suggested the solar-powered system would be a faster, safer, less costly, and more efficient mode of transport between Los Angeles and San Francisco than the high-speed train currently under development.

“Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome... the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment,” Musk wrote.

Musk estimated the system linking the two cities, which are 380 miles apart, would cost $6 billion. Capsules could depart as often as every 30 seconds, and carry personal automobiles, travelling faster than 700mph.

Passengers seated in cabins inside the capsules would experience slightly more than the force of gravity, more like on an aeroplane than a roller coaster, he said on a conference call. He said he would likely build a prototype of the concept, but not immediately, as he is busy with his commercial space project SpaceX.

A demonstration model would take up to four years to complete, he said. The concept would best work between cities closer than 1,000 miles, because beyond that supersonic air travel would be preferable.

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