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Musk's 'Hyperloop' similar to roller coasters

world Updated: Aug 14, 2013 01:27 IST
Yashwant Raj

Imagine going from Delhi to Jaipur in 15 minutes, which is four hours by road? It's not happening today or in the near future, not in India, or anywhere else in the world.

Called "Hyperloop", it's only a futuristic transportation system concept unveiled on Monday by Elon Musk, PayPal founder now into electric cars and space travel.

Musk's plan, designed for Los Angeles to San Francisco, reduces travel time to 30 minutes, for roughly double the distance between Delhi and Jaipur.

Passengers would travel in sealed compartments called pods -- each seating 28 people -- zipping at subsonic speed through overground tubes mounted on pylons.

Pods will leave at intervals of 30 seconds, traveling 8 km apart.

You will also be able to drive your car into special pods, each with the capacity to carry three full-size cars with drivers, and drive off from your destination.

The pods will not run on wheels. Instead, they will be mounted on skis that create a cushion of air shooting air through tiny holes, propelling the pods through electromagnetic pulses.

The entire system will be powered by solar energy trapped by arrays mounted on the tubes. In Musk's estimation the system will produce more energy than it needs.

He began working on this concept as he was unhappy with a high speed rail project California has sanctioned for the route.

"How could the home of Silicon Valley, which is indexing all the world's knowledge and putting rovers on Mars, build a bullet train that is one of the slowest in the world?" Musk said in a concept paper released by SpaceX, his space travel business.

And so was born Hyperloop.

But Musk won't do it, for now at least. He doesn't have time. The plan is out there for anyone to run with, as is or with changes. He may return to it, however, if there were not takers.

It's not an undoable idea.

"It does sound like it's all done with known technology. It's not like he's counting on something brand new to be invented," Martin simon, UCLA physics professor told BusinessWeek.

Something similar to roller coasters, he added.