A Skeptical Engineer

Hyperloop or Hyperloopy?

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla cars and SpaceX, seems like a respectable engineer and one who can get things done. So what do you think of his new mass-transit concept, Hyperloop? It’s sort of a cross between a pneumatic tube (carrying 30+ passengers), a scaled-up air-hockey game, and a rail gun that shoots the tube at up to 700 mph. He even envisions putting solar panels on top of the tubes that would generate more than enough electrify to power the device. And for one going from San Francisco to L.A., he estimates a price tag of $6 billion, with people paying a fare of only $20 (own-way).

I give him credit for putting the idea forth, though it is not totally original. ET3 talks about a similar idea on its website. But I get the feeling his Hyperloop idea will have less of an impact on actual transportation than Dean Kamen’s Segway. I’ve actually seen some people moving around on them. But I can recall that before Segway was unveiled, it was touted as being an invention bigger than the Internet or PC that will revolutionize city planning and create an upheaval in several industries. It hasn’t, yet.

So give Musk’s proposition a look (full pdf here) and let us know what you think might work and what likely won’t work.

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