Image courtesy of Gizmodo & http://www.ryanwaters.com/

Few days ago, entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk revealed the initial ideas and design for a revolutionary ‘fifth generation’ transportation system called ‘Hyperloop’, which when put in place,  will take passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes.

He designed Hyperloop as a better alternative to the recently approved “California High Speed Rail“, a $68 billion USD project that will reduce the travelling time between LA and SF to 2 hours and 38 minutes with average speed of 164 mph (264 kph). He says, according to the figures, the high-speed rail does not reduce the travel time or travel cost in the proposed route.

Mr.Musk released a 57-page white paper describing the proposed designs of an ‘alpha’ version of Hyperloop. Briefly, the Hyperloop involves two major components – a capsule and a tube. The  solar-powered aluminium capsules (or pods) rides on a cushion of air through a tube which is partly vacuüm. The capsules can move at around 700 mph (1,130 kph) inside the tube propelled by linear accelerators placed at various locations along the length of the tube.

Hyperloop conceptual diagram

There are two version of the Hyperloop capsules; The passenger capsule can carry 28 passengers and departs every 2 minutes (or 30 seconds) from LA or SF. The passenger plus vehicle capsule will accommodate 3 vehicles in addition to the passengers and will depart as often as the passenger capsule. Each capsule will be separated within the tubes by appox. 23 miles (37 km) on average.

Conceptual diagram of Hyperloop Passsenger Capsule

Conceptual diagram of Hyperloop Passenger Capsule

Not surprisingly, this futuristic design raised many eyebrows. Some said that this is not a ‘new idea’, others scrutinized the economics of the Hyperloop plan and still others raised security concerns. Yet there are reasons why the Hyperloop could be made into a reality.

Whether it is over-hyped or not, this looks very interesting indeed. If it were ever to become real then it will surely be a revolution!

And, at last, just for those with a hell lots of optimism, if Hyperloop comes to India ever (yeah!), it will take just 2 hrs and 30 mins between Kanyakumari and Dibrugarh, compared to around 83 hrs taken by the Vivek express currently!