Several high-tech engineering firms are racing to develop the hyperloop, a pod that transports passengers at speeds as high as 700 miles per hour. First thought up by Elon Musk in an hairbrained vision back in 2013, the prospect of a breakthrough in high-speed transportation is becoming more possible everyday.
The hyperloop is an ingenious system of pressurized tubes that rocket a pod through an enclosed system, allowing for ground travel to finally begin catching up with the speeds of air travel. The possibilities are endless in the United States and abroad for a technology that could make getting from coast to coast cheaper, faster, and simpler.
Imagine not having to deal with the inconvenience of visiting an airport, buying tickets months in advance, and the wasting of time to take off and land.
Current speeds for the best prototypes of the hyperloop have reached about 240 miles per hour, still significantly slower than plane travel. Each company has taken the original Musk idea and implemented variations that range from a levitating pod propelled by magnets, a chamber with high-speed skates, and all utilize some form of positive and negative pressure, making the air density in front thinner than the air behind the vessel.
Musk, Tesla, and SpaceX have taken a back seat to other companies using Musk’s original concept because Tesla and SpaceX are instead focusing on the commercialization of the concept. Developing a new infrastructure, safety parameters, and legal framework will according to some take as long as a decade to reach fruition.
Regardless of the obvious obstacles, consider a future where instead of hopping on several flights to get across the country, you could instead have a 5 hour journey in a futuristic chamber that could further connect our ever-expanding worlds.