You have to hand it to Elon Musk..
He comes up with some crazy ideas, but he has a habit of actually doing them. Often rather well :)
Elon Musk dropped a few further hints about his Hyperloops transit plan in London last night, saying it was "a cross between a Concorde and a rail gun" whose biggest hurdles included "right-of-way" issues. And it seems that the ultimate destiny of the futuristic system would be to shift aging tech entrepreneurs around their …
I dredge remaining cells for what I concluded over forty years ago.
I visualised a network that roughly replaces railways, motorways and A roads. It would carry independent fully automatic vehicles that formed themselves into trains for maximum track capacity, these would take up to half of time to pass a point leaving the gaps for units to join and speed to the back of each train. At Y junctions units would drop out of the train leaving the residue to close up.
Of course it would take every sort of traffic. There would be auto taxis, group travel vehicles that connected one station to another, freight and car like vehicles that could leave the system to be driven on the roads at up to 15 kph. Speeds up to 300 kph would be defined for each length of track. And it would be an overhead monorail.
The track would provide power, signals and would otherwise be passive. Steering would be on the units which would select ahead or change. The default would always towards an exit from the system.
New track would consume minimum land, allowing cows to graze beneath, we had grazing cows then. Through urban space it would run high out of reach. As it would have immense capacity for traffic it could be built in place of railways and motorways.
To build the system start somewhere, then grow sideways, then routes parallel to the start could be closed for installing track without loss of capacity as like the internet a unit of traffic can take an alternative route. We can have car ferry units where you can roll up in your Merc, or whatever, drive into a box and be whizzed away.
It would be cheap, fast, safe and quiet - win win win win. I discussed this with colleagues, they liked the speed and the absence of traffic jams but not the automatic driving. No one liked driving slowly to an entry, running on, setting 'Mum and Dad' as a destination and then becoming a passenger.
With a bit of Space 1999's "travel tubes."
In *principal* a flat ended cylinder in an evacuated tunnel could accelerate fairly gently and reach M2 fairly quickly. Being flat ended if it caught up to the one in front that would not be a problem.
A trip across the US at M2 is still about 4 hours, which is a *long* time to be sitting in a seat with *nothing* to look out at (do you want to see a rock surface whizzing by at 680m/s 10cm from your nose?).
And the software issues are *huge*. Picture the Denver luggage AGV's moving at M2 as they attempt to occupy the same bit of track. Not good.
And of course the little matter of earthquakes might be quite disruptive as well.
Above ground you'd have 2 problems. Endless right of way disputes and what happens if the pipe leaks? Large objects *suddenly* hitting air at sea level density experience serious heating issues.
Still gets my thumbs up as a big dreamer.
I'd *love* to see it. It might be his *most* bold plan yet.
Build a rail system with autonomous railcars. Route the railcars like packets on ethernet.
We could drive our personal cars on to a railcar, plugin, latch down, set our destination and sit back while the network routes us to our destination.
EVs could charge on the way. Heat engines will be converted to EV for the duration of the trip.
It would be nice if the autonomous railcar could hit speeds of 100 MPH but not essential. The most time saving aspect would be the lack of traffic jams.
One could travel long distances over night, sleeping in one's own vehicle, arrive and not have to rent a car or arrange other transportation, or hotel room.
wouldn't want to be in one that gets dropped like an ethernet frame though. Also try getting that much rail in around the NIMBYS (you should see the HS2 resistence here in the midlands, luddites)
i really want musk to succeed but this is starting to smell of the whole segway pre hype (it will change everything, zomg its so amazing top secret will change the universe.....oh its an electric scooter)
Long-time resident of California's "Great Central Valley" here...passenger trains haven't run that route in decades...yeah, yeah, I know; our "passenger rail" relatively is a tiny scrap of sh*te anyway...still, one way or t'other, ya gotta get over at least one of several mountain...OK, OK, in deference to residents of the Caucusus, Pyrenees, Alps, wherever, "hill" ranges...in the late 19th century this was made possible by an engineering-marvel, the "Tehachapi Loop"...still used daily by gi-normously heavy and lengthy freight trains. Maybe that's the whole point...maybe his system will have the torque and velocity to go straight up grades impossibly-steep with today's technology...thus, no need for a necessarily-wide mountain loop where there ain't no real-estate available or useful anyway...
in the late 19th century this was made possible by an engineering-marvel, the "Tehachapi Loop"...still used daily by gi-normously heavy and lengthy freight trains. Maybe that's the whole point...maybe his system will have the torque and velocity to go straight up grades impossibly-steep with today's technology...
Possibly. Avoiding height changes was the key reason most of the UK rail network is as convoluted as it is.
Of course in recent years there is this marvelous new technology which they are calling a "Tunnel" which bores through such obstacles.
I think they will catch on.
A cross between a railgun and concord? Didn't the nutjobs, sorry majority of right-thinking Americans, already ban supersonic passenger craft in case the sonic booms brought the sky crashing down?
Or does that not apply to "Made In America" sonic booms?
Good on Elon for trying, but one wonders if the nutjobs and greenies will let him...
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