SpaceX launches Hyperloop pod design competition geared for students and indie engineering teams

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So. Freaking. Awesome.

Look, I know there are serious hurdles to overcome and I know the land rights and right-of-way and blah blah blah but come on people:

I really like high speed rail, but I’d be perfectly content to skip that and go straight to this.


Even if I could take hyperloop seriously as more practical than simpler forms of high-speed rail, man… Claustrophobics need NOT apply. Looks more like riding in a coffin with recumbent seats. Give me slower, more livable, transport, where I can stretch my legs, use the bathroom, visit the dining car, watch the scenery scroll by, or work on my laptop computer, Moving us around faster doesn’t make the world more livable.


It sounds like the full-sized tunnels are to be 10ft diameter or so- that’s a bit more spacious, anyway.
But but but FAST!

(yeah, you’re totally right- but if I can spend more time with my family and less time traveling…)

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Don’t worry. Somebody will come up with the great idea that it needs airport-grade security kabuki and the time advantage will go poof.


How to fat people fit? Or people who can’t bend into those seats through those doors? And is there space for wheelchairs? Bicycles? Any what about luggage, both personal and checked? Better hope your baby doesn’t need changing.

And look at how sparse the seating is. You have to build lots of car for not a lot of people. A single BART subway car can take 50 seated and 200 standing - the cars in the upper drawing take 8. To seat 100 people you’d need a ~600 foot train and a station platform just as long. How will they make their money back?

I believe finding feasable answers to those and other questions is the point of this competition.

I believe small cars are intentional. Not only can you send people on their way a lot quicker, but you’d only need to make stops to satisfy the few people on board (assuming this thing makes stops, I haven’t seen anything on how that would work exactly). If power is coming from the line then there really isn’t much reason to build the cars very large.

Really, the loading system probably wouldn’t work that much differently from a roller coaster.

There are Personal Rapid Transit systems that are small pods too.

Wheel chairs would be rather easy. Just have one out of every 20 cars with no seat. I don’t really get the fat people thing. It isn’t like building it an extra 8 inches wider is going to matter nor is luggage space. Bicycles? Well, maybe the wheelchair car can double as having a hanging bike rack in the back.

As far as your baby needing changing. A trip is supposed to take of 35 minutes. People ride in cars longer than that and delay changing their kid (or having to pee themselves).


The originally proposed design has no stops. Merely runs from one terminus in the suburbs of LA to one in the East Bay Area.

Numbers proposed were something like one pod leaving the station every 30 seconds at peak. I expect the feasibility of this would depend very much on how the loading of both passengers and luggage is set up&mdash it’s doable on 3-4 person PRT systems partially due to how few people there are, and you can come close to it on slightly larger cars if the passengers don’t have to be settled before departing. A number of platforms that all feed into the line, and whichever one is ready leaves first, could potentially deal with the departures. (And arrivals, assuming at least one of the platforms is always clear when a new pod comes in; otherwise you’re going to start backing up with pods waiting to unload.)

Personally, I think this is a rather ambitious number – very much in “nothing can go wrong” territory – and even then still has the downside that at peak usage it’s maximum capacity is far lower than the high speed rail it was proposed as a solution to.

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