Elon Musk has unveiled his Hyperloop transport concept in a blog post on his Space X website. The proposed system would use small capsules to propel passengers at near-supersonic speeds from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
The Co-Founder of PayPal has been working on an alternative mode of transport to California's current proposal which includes a $68 billion High-Speed Rail link between the two cities.
Musk's Hyperloop concept is a revolutionary idea as it suggests using tubes which would run on stilts from one city to the other, inside would be a very low-pressure environment creating as little drag as possible allowing the capsules to reach such high speeds.
A key feature of the design is the inclusion of a compressor at the front of each capsule, this not only helps reduce the build up of air at the front of the capsule but also serves the purpose of helping lift the capsule at lower speeds.
Each capsule would be able to carry 28 passengers and would travel at speeds up to 768mph reducing the journey time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to a mere 30 minutes.
The power requirements of such a space-age system are understandably high, in fact Hyperloop would require an impressive 28,000hp or 21MW to run. The Tesla-founder has a solution though by covering the entire network with an array of solar panels, a move which he estimates would create 76,000hp or 57MW more than fulfilling the needs of the system.
Concerns about safety have been raised however Musk believes his current proposal is more than adequate - by providing a gap of 23 miles between each capsule there would be plenty of space for the capsules to slow down in case of an emergency.
Musk believes the entire project can be completed at a cost of $6bn however concerns have been raised that actual costs could be as high as $12bn which would still be below the proposed $68bn High-Speed Rail network that is currently being proposed.
At present the proposal is purely in the concept stage and Musk himself has said that he would not be able to take on the task due to commitments with Tesla and the Space X program. He has however said that he would be keen to create a working concept which he believes could be built in around four years.