Musk’s latest mad scientist idea is moving forward
Can Elon Musk do no wrong? Can he ever fail? Is he human? Or is he a Bond villain, just biding his time, while he strokes a white cat from a swivel chair? Seriously, whatever that man comes up with, or touches instantly turns the world on its head.
Between Tesla's groundbreaking cars and disruptions to the dealership model, to commercializing space travel with SpaceX, to SolarCity attempting to shake up the power industry, Elon Musk is at war with convention. Musk’s latest mad scientist idea, the Hyperloop, is moving forward after just being a design sketch only a few short months ago.
The Hyperloop is essentially a monorail on steroids, or perhaps a better analogy would be those tubes you use at a bank. For those, pressurized air propels the capsule along. The Hyperloop would use a similar method; however, the pods would be propelled by magnets in the tubes that would allow for speeds in excess of 700 miles per hour. Two separate companies are currently in the process of building Hyperloop test tracks. One is Musk’s own SpaceX, and the construction of the test track and facility are beginning to move forward in Texas. There, SpaceX will hold competitions with colleges from around the world, very much like the Formula SAE competitions. The company will also allow other manufacturers access to the test track to help design and test different pod styles and load limits.
The second company is one outside of Musk’s purview called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT). Already in the design and partnership phase, HTT plan on building a full-scale working prototype along California’s Interstate 5 through the San Joaquin Valley. The company has already announced that it is collaborating with Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, the company responsible for building a new rail tunnel beneath London, and global engineering firm Aecom. The latter will be the actual builders of the project, with Oerlikon supplying many of the intricate and delicate parts to make the system work. If Musk’s previous ideas are any indication of what to expect from a working Hyperloop, the world is going to once again be flipped onto its head in terms of transportation. Imagine getting from New York to Orlando in under two hours without ever needing to hop on a plane. Or from the West Coast to the East Coast in under four hours. Seeing as this was just a thought and a sketch on a napkin only a short time ago, the speed at which this project is advancing is incredible. The future is coming, and is possibly closer than we ever imagined.