Elon Musk claims his hyperloop concept will become the fifth mode of transportation, alongside planes, trains, cars and boats. However, its implementation is likely to face difficulties from existing train technology advantages.
Autonomous vehicles are revolutionizing transportation and making driving less stressful, while also revolutionizing mobility services, providing tailored options and providing greater customization of services.
Trains have been an enduring form of transportation for centuries. Their maximum speed may only reach 267 miles per hour, yet engineers continue to optimize designs of standard trains. Large-scale rail projects often necessitate balancing engineering excellence with political considerations; the Acela trains on the Northeast Corridor only reach 125 mph during their trip between Boston and Washington – therefore many experts do not consider it high speed train travel.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, recently proposed his Hyperloop design as a novel form of transport. It involves moving passenger pods at speeds far exceeding traditional trains through a vacuum tube system – though as an article published by Time notes, Musk is notorious for proposing half-baked solutions to our car-dependent lifestyle that further restrict efforts at providing alternatives such as his Hyperloop proposal which has yet to be proven as functioning effectively.
Trains have long been an integral component of transportation, and although they may appear outmoded when compared with SUVs that can break the sound barrier, modern high-speed trains are gaining momentum. Amtrak recently increased the top speed of its Acela train from 100 mph to 150 mph – though that is still far short of China’s high-speed trains that reach up to 220 mph speeds!
But some believe Hyperloops could be the next generation of transportation. Employing contactless levitation and propulsion systems combined with low pressure environments would allow Hyperloop pods to travel quickly and efficiently in their low pressure environment, as well as being fully electric, energy efficient and climate neutral in terms of their lifetime goal. But is Elon Musk’s proposal really game changing or another half-baked proposal from him?
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to “understand” and respond to their environment. Equipped with sensors located throughout their car that create an accurate map of its surroundings, detect other vehicles and pedestrians, read traffic lights accurately and measure distances, these cars use advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning systems.
Autonomous Vehicles have the potential to increase efficiency, decrease congestion and cut travel costs by eliminating human error and driving fatigue. Furthermore, these AVs could use electricity as power instead of fossil fuels – further decreasing pollution from transportation sectors.
Although Musk’s vision for Hyperloop may still seem far-fetched, his company continues to raise capital through investments; and his dream of travelers using high-speed pods sounds promising. But, as with most new innovations, Hyperloop may take time and money before being ready for public consumption; even then, its cost may make it unfeasible for many consumers.
Companies are developing electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) which could make life simpler by providing convenient rides between home and work and back again. But do these vehicles really offer enough convenience that would convince us to replace our car?
One problem: This idea can be extremely expensive and take years before commencing operation of its trains or pods.
Elon Musk’s Hyperloop plan would transport passengers and freight through 6 meter-wide, wholly enclosed tubes maintained near vacuum conditions by magnetic forces, levitated by electromagnetic levitation forces. Even if perfected, its use likely remains exclusive luxury that requires substantial subsidies.