8/20/2013

New York to L.A. in 45 Minutes?


Billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk, of pay-pal, Tesla motors and SpaceX, envisions a future where we can travel around the world in 6 hours.  The vision involves a massive Hyperloop system, similar to the old-school pneumatic tube systems used by banks to suck your deposit to the teller at the drive-through.  A massive vacuum tube, mounted either above ground or under water would be combined with a magnetic levitation system, providing a friction free zone with no wind resistance, no chance of collisions, and insanely high speeds.

One company out of Colorado has already been working on the technology.  ET3 or Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies has created a new transportation idea that is cheaper and quieter than planes and trains.  ET3 capsules weigh 400 pounds, can carry up to 800 pounds and are capable of speeds up to 4,000 mph.  With those speeds the capsules can travel from New York City to Los Angeles in just 45 minutes, from Washington D.C. to Beijing in 2 hours and to the other side of Earth in 6 hours.  The idea uses magnetic levitation or maglev technology, which is used in some high-speed trains today, removing air in the tubes would eliminate drag and allow for the capsule to travel at a high rate of speed.  this technology could be built for 1/10th the cost of high-speed rail or 1/4th the cost of freeway.