Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled plans yesterday for a futuristic "Hyperloop" transportation system to whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under half an hour.
The highly anticipated announcement put to rest some of the questions surrounding the ambitious project, which, though only hypothetical at this point, the Tesla Motors founder and CEO has hinted at for months but declined to discuss in detail. The Hyperloop, which Musk previously described as a cross between a Concorde, rail gun and air-hockey table, would be solar powered and move passengers and even automobiles at speeds of up to 800 miles per hour, according to the 57-page design plan.
Its aluminum capsules would run above ground and along low pressure steel tubes. Compared to alternatives like California's planned high-speed rail, the Hyperloop would be safer, faster, less expensive and more convenient, Musk said in a blog post.
"Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone please do this), the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment," Musk wrote in a post with the plans.
"The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart," he added. Still, the system is only a dream for the time being, as Musk has said that between Tesla and private space-travel company SpaceX, he doesn't have the time or resources to work on the Hyperloop.