Tech Entrepreneur Reveals Plans for Air-Driven Bullet Train
After months of hints and speculation, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk formally unveiled plans for “Hyperloop Alpha,” a high-speed elevated train that would use air pressure to shoot passenger and cargo pods through a pneumatic tube at speeds approaching 760 mph.
Although he currently has no plans to actually build the Hyperloop, Musk envisions a day when it could be used to shuttle people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in only 30 minutes, without the hassles of airports, weather delays, etc. Additionally, Musk says a Hyperloop would cost billions of dollars less than California’s proposed high-speed rail system and cost less to operate since it would be solar powered.
One critic, however, has already criticized the plans as unfeasible. Sam Jaffe, senior research analyst at clean technology firm Navigant Research, told USA Today that heat generated by the air compression would be the primary problem. “The heat of compression is always underestimated by engineers,” Jaffe says. “To take that heat away from the critical parts of the system, you need a lot of surface area inside the pod. You just have a limited volume of space to work with.”
Musk himself acknowledges the need for additional refinement of his design, which he calls “open- source,” meaning anyone is free to download Musk’s 57-page design proposal from the Internet and suggest improvements.
What do you think? Having witnessed the awesome power of air countless times, we at Airfloat are unwilling to dismiss the idea out of hand. To decide for yourself, click here, to see Musk’s plans in full detail.