After Much Hype, Elon Musk To Unveil His Supersonic 'Hyperloop'

Published On : 8/12/2013 8:53 AM
By : EYDER PERALTA
From : NPR
Categories : Business, Science
Imagine making the 380-mile trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about half an hour.   That's the kind of thing Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, says his "hyperloop" can do.   Now, what is hyperloop? From what we know, it's basically a vehicle that travels faster than the speed of sound inside a tube. John Gardi, a Canadian tinkerer whose guess got a thumbs up from Musk, says it's like the pneumatic tubes used in banks to move your deposits around the building.

Imagine making the 380-mile trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about half an hour.

That's the kind of thing Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, says his "hyperloop" can do.

Now, what is hyperloop? From what we know, it's basically a vehicle that travels faster than the speed of sound inside a tube. John Gardi, a Canadian tinkerer whose guess got a thumbs up from Musk, says it's like the pneumatic tubes used in banks to move your deposits around the building.

Elon Musk in March of 2009.

Robyn Beck /AFP/Getty Images


What we know for sure is that Musk will reveal the first draft of his idea this afternoon.


The BBC reports he talked about the idea during a Google Hangout with Richard Branson last week.


Musk said he was frustrated by how slow and expensive California's high-speed rail project would be:


"Mr. Musk claims Hyperloop would be a practical solution for city pairs separated by 1,000 miles (1,600km) or less. Beyond this distance, it would be better to take a plane, he explained.
"But for the shorter distance, his new concept would beat the plane, he argues, because it would not waste time ascending and descending.

"'It does involve a tube but not a vacuum tube... not frictionless but very low friction,' is all he will add."
As many media outlets are reporting, there hasn't been this much hype for a new technological advancement since the Segway was unveiled in 2001.


But BBC spoke to physicist Martin Archer from Imperial College in Britain. He said if anyone could pull off a grand and crazy idea, it's Musk.


Remember, he made electric vehicles fast and profitable and his company is the first commercial firm to dock with the International Space Station. Musk, however, says he's too busy to build this project himself... at least for now.


We will of course follow up once the design is released at 3 p.m. and we'll also listen to the call scheduled for 5 p.m.

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