SAN FRANCIS CO: A design for a super-fast transport system dubbed “Hyperloop”—carrying passengers in pressurized tubes at near-supersonic speeds—was unveiled on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) by inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Musk, who heads electric carmaker Tesla Motors and private space exploration firm SpaceX, released a 57-page document describing the project, which he claimed could connect Los Angeles and San Francisco in 35 minutes.
Musk told a conference call this would be a new form of transport, different from traditional rail, and would carry passengers and goods in pods in a contained system elevated on pylons.
“This is designed to be super light and trains are amazingly heavy,” he said. “This is designed more like an aircraft.”
The system is capable of speeds reaching 1,220 kilometers (760 miles) an hour, or Mach 0.91, according to Musk’s document.
The technical paper said Hyperloop “consists of a low pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube.”
“The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift,” it said.
Musk said last week he was merely publicizing the “open source design” and had no plans to actually build the system, but on Monday it appeared he was having second thoughts.
“I’m tempted to make at least a demonstration prototype,” he said. “I’m not trying to make a ton of money on this, but I would like to see it come to fruition and I think it would help if I did a demonstration.”