Elon Musk wants to revolutionize public transportation. For the past few months, the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO has cryptically hinted at plans for a new transportation system called “The Hyperloop,” capable, he says, of taking riders from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under 30 minutes.
Now, it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to see Musk’s full plans for the Hyperloop.
On Monday, Musk announced that he would publish the complete plans for the Hyperloop in August, adding that he would welcome criticism and suggestions from the Web.
“Will publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12. Critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated,” Musk tweeted Monday.
Soon after his initial tweet about the Hyperloop alpha design, Musk fielded some questions from fans about the project. Musk apparently plans to release the Hyperloop without a patent.
“I really hate patents unless critical to company survival. Will publish Hyperloop as open source," Musk tweeted.
Soon after, Musk also tweeted out some minor design details about the Hyperloop, stating that the service would be earthquake-proofed and feature a pod diameter of around 2 meters. Musk wouldn’t confirm any serious details about the Hyperloop’s design, but did praise one John Gardi’s design as “the closest I’ve seen anyone guess so far,” meaning that we might have a small glimpse at the Hyperloop’s final design on our hands.
So far, few other details about the Hyperloop have emerged, but Wired describes Musk’s new transportation system as a mag-lev train combined with a series of pneumatic tubes allowing for incredibly fast intercity travel. Wired also adds that if Musk’s 30-minute LA to San Francisco loop is successful, he may consider branching out with another loop connecting New York to Los Angeles.
Musk first openly spoke about the Hyperloop at this year’s All Things D D11 conference, where he described the system as “a cross between a Concorde and a rail gun and an air hockey table” that would stand as an alternative to proposed high-speed rail systems.
“The high-speed rail that’s been proposed will be the slowest bullet train in the world and the most expensive, and it’s a little depressing,” Musk said. “Even if I’m wrong about the economic assumptions behind the Hyperloop, it would be a really fun ride.”
Musk said he began development on the Hyperloop idea after becoming disappointed with California’s proposed high-speed rail project. According to Musk, the system will be the slowest and most expensive high-speed rail project in the world, necessitating some sort of new design that goes beyond the traditional rail structure.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.