Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Nigeria mosque blast: Scores die in attack during prayers in Kano

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Sarko Bites Back: Ex-President Determined to Reclaim UMP Leadership

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

No Deal: Iran Nuclear Talks End Without Agreement

Read more

FASHION

"Cloakroom Vestiaire Obligatoire" a tender and hypnotic performance by Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard.

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Learning the language of love

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Calls for probe into 1998 murder of journalist

Read more

FOCUS

Is this the end of Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Movement'?

Read more

#THE 51%

France marks 40th anniversary of abortion laws

Read more

#TECH 24

Virtual insanity? Artist to 'experience life' through Oculus Rift headset for 28 days

Read more

Americas

'Hyperloop' high-speed transport design unveiled

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-13

The design for a "Hyperloop" that would transport passengers in pressurised tubes at almost supersonic speeds was unveiled Monday. The system would be able to travel the 615 kilometres (382 miles) from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes.

A design for a super-fast transport system dubbed "Hyperloop" -- carrying passengers in pressurized tubes at near-supersonic speeds -- was unveiled Monday by inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Musk, who heads electric carmaker Tesla Motors and private space exploration firm SpaceX, released a 57-page document describing the project, which he claimed could connect Los Angeles and San Francisco in 35 minutes.

Musk told a conference call this would be a new form of transport, different from traditional rail, and would carry passengers and goods in pods in a contained system elevated on pylons.

"This is designed to be super light and trains are amazingly heavy," he said. "This is designed more like an aircraft."

The system is capable of speeds reaching 1,220 kilometers (760 miles) an hour, or Mach 0.91, according to Musk's document.

The technical paper said Hyperloop "consists of a low pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube."

"The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift," it said.

Musk said last week he was merely publicizing the "open source design" and had no plans to actually build the system, but on Monday it appeared he was having second thoughts.

"I'm tempted to make at least a demonstration prototype," he said.

"I'm not trying to make a ton of money on this, but I would like to see it come to fruition and I think it would help if I did a demonstration."

Musk said he and a small team from his two firms came up with the design, drawing on some technology from each.

It envisions some version of the same electric motors used in the Tesla S automobile, creating an electromagnetic field to propel the pod.

"It essentially sends a pulse .. and the tube ends up chasing the pulse," he said.

He maintained that the ride "would feel a lot like being in an airplane .. it would feel smooth, like as if you were riding on air."

Musk has previously called the system a cross between a "Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table."

While the system was envisaged to connect the two big California cities, Musk said it would be economical for any link less than about 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).

He estimated the cost of connecting the cities would be $6 billion, which could translate to a fare of about $20 for a one-way ticket.

Musk said he came up with the design because of his opposition to a high-speed rail project in California, which he claimed was more expensive and less efficient.

He said the rail cost has been estimated at "roughly $70 billion" but that "it's probably going to be north of $100 billion and it's going to be less desirable to take that than to take a plane."

California has approved the first phase of construction of a much anticipated yet controversial high-speed rail project linking Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Musk said his system would be less vulnerable to shocks from earthquakes, and less prone to accidents than planes or trains, because "it cannot fall out of the sky nor can it derail like a train."

Besides SpaceX and Tesla, Musk, who was born in South Africa but is a US citizen, heads up SolarCity, a company which makes solar panels for homes and businesses.

He also has a foundation that focuses on education, clean energy and child health.

Musk banked his first millions when he sold Zip2 to US computer maker Compaq for more than $300 million in 1999.

His next company, X.com, eventually merged with PayPal, the online payments firm bought by Internet auction giant eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-08-13

COMMENT(S)