PayPal founder and space travel entrepreneur Elon Musk has unveiled his ideas for an ultra high-speed tubular transportation system.
Seated in small capsules, "Hyperloop" passengers paying around $20 (£13) for a one-way journey between San Francisco and Los Angeles would be treated to a smooth, half-hour journey.
Using solar-powered induction motors, the pods would be initially accelerated to 760mph and would then receive a boost from electric motors installed every 70 miles along the track.
Musk said in his outlining document that the idea, if worked through correctly, would be faster, cheaper and safer than the current California high-speed rail project, admitting he was disappointed with the conventional railway plans.
"How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) – doing incredible things like indexing all the world's knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?" he wrote.
He added: "Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone please do this), the only option for superfast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment."
Capsules with a 28-passenger capacity would depart roughly every two minutes, carrying 840 passengers per hour, 7.4 million per year. In order to overcome the immense, syringe-style air pressures created by firing a capsule through a tube, large compressor fans would be fitted to the pods, funnelling air through them rather than past them. Musk admits that journeys of more than 1,000 miles would most likely be more efficient when taken by supersonic jet, but Hyperloop journeys would generally work for shorter voyages.
Musk has set the price of the Hyperloop project at under $6bn (£3.9bn), with most of the money going on the construction of the tube, which could run either above or below ground, following mostly straight interstate highways to minimise extra infrastructure costs.
However, the BBC reports that Musk has said he is "too busy" to work on the project himself, with projects including his commercial space travel project SpaceX taking up most of his time.
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