Elon Musk has never been one to shy away from an idea or concept because it is expensive. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who has been dreaming of the day when his Hyperloop transportation system will be a reality. To speed the process up, Elon Musk says he will be exploring the options of developing a super-fast transportation system – which he believes will become the fifth mode of transportation.

Originally, the concept was said to be coming from California – but it now appears as though Musk is going to pay for the development and a test track right in the state of Texas. Musk said in a Tweet yesterday that his company “will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.” The team of engineers that were originally a part of Tesla and SpaceX released a 57-page report that detailed how the concept would work, which generated a ton of media attention – in both the United States, as well as internationally.

While many people have been skeptical of the process and the transportation system, it remains clear right now that the concept actually has a lot of simple roots buried within it. Many have drawn the air hockey table comparison. Just as the hockey puck on an air hockey table is raised slightly with air propelling the puck upward – the same process would be happening with these pods. The only difference would be that the pods would be propelled and lifted upward by an electromagnetic pulse, rather than a rush of air. The pods would then be able to reach speeds of 800mph, and would effectively travel faster than the speed of sound.

Hyperloop Test Track Map

While it sounds great in concept though, this is a project that would be expensive at all phases. However, those within the company have noted that keeping costs down, or at least down as much as possible, would be key to making this a mainstream method of transportation. The original site – between San Francisco and Los Angeles, for example, would cost $10 billion for a simple 400-mile stretch. In addition to that, though, there are a lot of concerns around navigating terrain – that will also challenge the process in the coming years. The proposed test track would be 8-km long in Texas.


  1. This is still a great idea with one serious Achilles heel — claustrophobia. I think that the safety issues can be resolved, but how will you convince people to sit in a very confined space for an extended period of time. It will be worse than airplane coach because you’ll have no aisle, no window, no beverage service, no ability to stand or stretch, nothing but coffin-like walls and the sound of air rushing past.

    All those working on this concept should abandon their engineering efforts until they deal with the psychology.

    — Harry Keller, PhD; President, Smart Science Education Inc.

  2. Mass transit will and must continue to evolve. With respect to the psychology of confined spaces.. Engineering & Marketing Specialis for the Bug and the Smart car have already overcome any perceived phobias (faux-bias) regarding just what commuters will put up with. I look forward toi improved efficiency, a smaller carbon footprint and the sure but certain progression of change.


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