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back to article Elon Musk to release open source Hyperloop plans in August

Elon Musk has been dropping hints about a revolutionary form of transport called Hyperloop for over a year, and on Monday he said that the full details will be released on August 12, and that the system's key technologies will be open sourced. "I really hate patents unless critical to company survival. Will publish Hyperloop as …

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Bronze badge

Either it's open sourced because it is just an idea that has never made it out of the think tank, or, it really is the next best thing since sliced bread, which at that point the energy companies will just forbid it. Of course being a loop, it just might be the biggest NASCAR course in history.

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The $62Billion Problem

Yay if it is actually feasible!

The real rub of this is going to be the $62B in pork he'd be cutting high placed people out of. That kind of money is enough to invade countries and/swap in pet dictators for. He's really going to piss a lot of people off.

As a side note, this being California and all, I wonder which Union will operate it?

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Megaphone

avoiding sonic boom

At that speed it will *have* to be in a vacuum tube or the noise will annoy the hell out of everyone for miles around.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: avoiding sonic boom

It also sounds f**king terrifying. As a Californian, I'll settle for the train, if the Republicans would just let us build it.

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Re: if the Republicans would just let us build it.

You're welcome to build it any time you want to. I just object to you doing it with my tax money.

The path seems fairly straight forward to me. Form a 501(c)4 corp and list your objective as building the train as a social service. All donations then become tax deductible. I think you'll find it will be the eco-nazies on the left who actually stand in your way.

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Pint

I'm no gambler.

But I wouldn't bet against the man.

And I will buy him a pint if he pulls it off of course

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Methinks he's leaving out right-of-way costs, tunnels, and bridges. There's simply no way those can be built that cheaply along the CA coast.

The technology is the least of the problems with this; it's good 'ol fashioned Civil Engineering that would make such a project really expensive.

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Indeed. No way it can be a track-based system for $6bn, even if the SpaceX-style approach does allow him to cut out the usual extra "management" costs associated with the usual infrastructure suspects. $15m/mile? Across the mid-west perhaps, but not through hilly California spanning fault lines and all sorts of interesting geology!

$6bn on the other hand would probably go a good way to building some sort of mass-driver system to get a payload airborne... Seems to me that for that sort of price you could get two terminals but not any major infrastructure in between...

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It doesn't really fit but the name made me think of a launch loop

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_loop>

Interesting article if nothing else. Love the kilotonnage of spare energy slopping around, just waiting to escape.

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Transcontinental transport NY to LA in an hour advanced electrical grid to boot!

The modern maglev vacuum transport system started in the 1940's with the inventions of Robert Goddard the father of modern rocketry. For the last few years the basic concept of combining vacuum maglev with an advanced grid has been firing up power company conferences across the continent.

For three years Terraspan an all volunteer group has put forward a method for safe and certain survival for transport vehicles moving at 3,000 mph in the event of a complete loss of power or loss of vacuum. A method that conserves power by accelerating and decelerating from the same electrical grid

Hopefully Elon will consider our approach. We are not overly proud and if its viable we would be happy to embrace Hyperloop. Our survival technique and our special method for overcoming land use issues may well benefit Hyperloop whatever it is.

A slightly dated version of Terraspan can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKXbx9ssONo

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Pirate

Re: Transcontinental transport NY to LA in an hour advanced electrical grid to boot!

perhaps they were building upon the work done almost a century earlier by Mr I.K. Brunel?

His atmospheric railway in S. Devon used the differences in Air pressure to move the train along. The technology available at the time wasn't very reliable but IMHO it was the source of many of the SF stories that use similar methods to move things around.

I see the latest idea as the 21st Century evolution of the Atmospheric Railway. It is now feasable to put the whole train inside the tube and move it.

Quite how Mr Musk is going to sell this to the US people and gov whould be interesting.

Even if he gets approval the whole idea will be strangled at birth by the hordes of lawyers filing suit against any possible noise it might make. $64B might be enough to settle the claims for the first 10 miles. Nowhere near enough to get anything build and tested.

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Stop

Re: Transcontinental transport NY to LA in an hour advanced electrical grid to boot!

"Robert Goddard the father of modern rocketry"

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky? No?

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Re: Transcontinental transport NY to LA in an hour advanced electrical grid to boot!

Robert Grant thanks for question.

I agree that Konstantin came first but the liquid fueled steered nozzle rocket and nozzle design technology came from Goddard, as did the gimbaled gyroscope. The V2 simply improved on his work.

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Go East, young man!

Elon Musk should present his ideas in Europe or China, where advanced public transport ideas are much more likely to get traction than in the car-holic U.S., and land use issues can be solved more easily when "public interest" is at stake. Also, isn't China the only country with an actual operating Maglev train?

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Linux

Re: Go East, young man!

Japan has a Mag-lev trains, in operation,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev#JR-Maglev.2C_Japan

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Happy

Re: Go East, young man!

So does Epcot Center in Florida. More would be nice though.

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Mushroom

Air hockey table?

Obviously, nothing to do with nasty and expensive vacuum tubes, he just means to put one of his rocket boosters on an hovercraft! Great in a straight line, not so sure about cornering though....

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I haven't even seen the idea and I already think it's likely to be a better idea than HS2.

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Silver badge

Building some major sw-ne roads/upgrades would be better than HS2. Everything major just heads to London, which means everything fans out from se-nw.

We already have innumerable good links to London. The north in general too. But there are clear spots on the map which have godawful links to and from. Or require skirting around the M25 to reach your destination.

Nobody should have to join the M25 unless absolutely necessary.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but take it to the Channel Tunnel to avoid those Londinium types. Oh and while we're at it forget about Scottish independence, lets have Londinium independence and see how they get on without power, water, food and clean air from the rest of the UK

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Thumb Up

558Km is $10m/km

That does not seem unreasonable for construction costs of a motorway.

BTW if one were to use the technology of a "subterrene"* to melt a path through the rocks and form the tunnel wall as you go along that might change costs substantially. 1/3 LA/SF is about M0.9.

However a sudden repressurization event of the tunnel (above or below ground) would not be a good idea.

Whatever it is it will be a clever notion. Musk has shown he's a man prepared to take calculated risks on a large scale. They only sound wild at first. Thumbs up for this.

*Developed by (IIRC) Los Alamos labs in the 1960's using very hot heating elements driven by the (obligatory) small nuclear reactor.

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Re: 558Km is $10m/km

Has anyone ever actually built a subterrene"?

It has a Wikipedia page, showing an illustration of a Soviet version from 1955. The illustration links to a page in Russian (scan of an old magazine), which I unfortunately cannot read.

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Happy

Re: 558Km is $10m/km

"Has anyone ever actually built a subterrene"?"

In the West (AFAIK) no. I was not aware of any Russian work in the area.

Although I'd guess Los Alamos did various test units of varying sizes (especially the heating elements).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Subterrene

... but don't the rocks between LA and SF have an unfortunate habit of moving?

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I'm not sure how accurate, or Where these details have come from, but it certainly seems to tie up from the few bread crumbs that have been dropped so far...

http://hothardware.com/News/Teslas-Elon-Musk-Envisions-4000MPH-Hyperloop-Vacuum-Transportation-System/

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Re: is a maglev train running in vacuum tubes

Given the inclusion of an air hockey table in his description, I find that very doubtful. Given that, I expect he's thinking something along the lines of floating the vehicle on air like the puck floats on the air hockey table. Where the rest of it comes in I don't know. How you float a multi-ton object on air is even more of a mystery.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: is a maglev train running in vacuum tubes

"How you float a multi-ton object on air is even more of a mystery."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airplane

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovercraft

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle

Problem solved

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If it's not total hype like the Segway turned out to be, then let's look at his hints: "cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table," Taking those hints and his estimated costs. I think a land based vacuum tube is not realistic.

Air hockey table: I think this hints toward a GEV (ground effect vehicle) or Hovercraft that "floats" off the ground.

Rail Gun: Said vehicle is launched via a "rail gun" catapult type system before switching to on board propulsion.

Concorde: Vehicle is fast, to get from LA to SF in 30m at ground level would require the vehicle to go super sonic. To avoid the sonic booms in populated areas it could travel on the ocean between LA & SF. Having something that fast. Also, like the Concorde, a 50+ passenger vehicle.

6 billion USD: Two terminals and two rail-gun launch systems. The rail guns could be anchored out on the "flight path" at sea. Plus four or so vehicles.

If my guesses are close to correct, it could still be a neat system

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Anonymous Coward

"it could travel on the ocean between LA & SF"

Nifty, but it'd be a bit of a mess if a ~1000mph projectile intersected with the path of some other bit of ocean-going technology...

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Boffin

Re: Kunari

".....Rail Gun: Said vehicle is launched via a "rail gun" catapult type system before switching to on board propulsion....." Interesting idea, but unfortunately, the high G-loading would probably kill or seriously injure the average passenger. To accelerate at low G-loading to hypersonic speeds would require a rail gun with a "barrel" hundreds of miles long and a truly massive appetite for electricity.

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Re: Kunari

You misunderstand. I didn't say it'd go from 0 to supersonic on the rail. More like how an aircraft carrier's catapult works to launch a jet at take off. Now, that is still quite a jolt for the public, so I imagine it's much more gentle G-load and much longer than a aircraft carriers catapult too. Once launched, it'd switch to it's on board engines to continue acceleration up to cruising speed (which would have to be pretty fast to get from SF to LA in 30min.) Remember, he's the one that said "rail gun" in his hints, so I'm just guessing.

I don't see how they could build a path/track/tunnel/whatever on dry land for the price he stated. Plus contain the sonic boom without breaking windows or complaints by nearby neighborhoods. Also safely keeping animals, people, debris, etc OFF said path would be problematic. While just a guess, GEV's can gain altitude to "fly" above ship traffic and at sea there is less worry to about damage by the sonic boom.

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"Rail gun"

Um...guys..."0 to 1000mph" is enough to turn squishy meat bags into goo unless your rail gun is really, really long. At which point it isn't really a rail gun anymore, it's a mass driver and it's long like longcat.

And longcat is loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....

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Sounds like a vacuum tube plug.

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As it looks like everyone else's alresdy said. Should read the comments before posting, not just the story.

Apologies.

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