Elon Musk is known for dreaming big when it comes to technology, but more importantly he’s known for making his dreams a reality. Co-founder of both PayPal and electric-car manufacturer Tesla Motors, Musk has even expanded into space, making history as CEO of the world’s first privately held company to send supplies to the International Space Station.
Now Musk has said that the “alpha design” for his latest project, the Hyperloop, will be revealed by August 12, adding that “critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated”.
The Hyperloop has previously been described as a “fifth form” of transportation as well as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table”. Musk claims that the system would be able to travel the 380 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes, beating the bullet train planned to link the two cities, which would make the same trip in just under three hours.
Musk first discussed the Hyperloop in July last year during an interview with PandoDaily:
“This system I have in mind, how would you like something that can never crash, is immune to weather, it goes three or four times faster than the bullet train… it goes an average speed of twice what an aircraft would do."
He later described the power-system for the Hyperloop as self-sustaining via solar energy, generating more power than it consumed in day-to-day use. “There’s a way to store the power so it would run 24/7 without using batteries. Yes, this is possible, absolutely.”
More details of the system were revealed as Musk took to Twitter today to field questions from the public. He said that he would be publishing plans for the Hyperloop as open source; that it would be safe to use in earthquake-prone areas, and that he would be happy to work with partners on the project, rather than seek to commercialise it himself.
He specified that any hypothetical partners “must truly share philosophical goal of breakthrough tech done fast & w/o wasting money on BS.”
Musk’s track-record with SpaceX and Tesla Motors have proven that he is capable of realising projects that others would consider impossible, but some wonder if the Hyperloop system is a step too far.
The decision to release the plans publicly seems designed to counter such scepticism. The “alpha design” for the Hyperloop will doubtless be scrutinized by engineers and technicians the world over - surviving such an ordeal could bring it one step closer to reality.