Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hyperloop LA to SF in 30 Minutes

Hyperloop concept Los Angeles to San Francisco
Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport system planned as a less costly alternative to the California High-Speed Rail system currently under construction through the California central corridor, and a transport system to improve safety cost speed and sustainability of conventional ground transport . Pictured is a concept rendering of the elevated system for Los Angeles to San Francisco under development at the SpaceX campus in Hawthorne California. Hyperloop is an invitation for corporate and university participation, and a design competition for university students to build a functional prototype, both are invited by SpaceX of Hawthorne California.

If Laguna Beach was ambitious as SpaceX and Hyperloop high-speed ground transport plan for LA-SF, what might they accomplish with new mobility plan for Laguna?

Mr. Elon Musk is the inspiration for many revolutionary start-up ventures among them Tesla Motors, SpaceX and PayPal and five predictions for future tech. Mr Musk known for out-of-the-box thinking is credited for these recent developments:
  • 2017 - delivery of an electric folks-vagon priced at $35,000
  • 2016 - SpaceX historic first lands reusable rocket for ISS at sea
  • 2013 - Releases sketch of Hyperloop concept in 2013, whitepaper
  • 2012 - delivers the all-electric Tesla Model-S 

Hyperloop testing under construction
Hyperloop on elevated pedestals spaced 100'
Fifth-place entry UCI vehicle

First-place entry MIT

Second-place entry TU Delft Netherlands

In  an engineering design competition for the Hyperloop, thirty teams compete for best concept vehicle judged by academia and technical experts.  The deadline for submissions was January 20 2016, winners were announced January 30. In winning order:

  1. Best Overall Design Award: MIT Hyperloop Team, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Pod Innovation Award: Delft Hyperloop, Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands)
  3. Pod Technical Excellence Award: Badgerloop, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  4. Pod Technical Excellence Award: Hyperloop at Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech
  5. Pod Technical Excellence Award: HyperXite, University of California Irvine
Why does Hyperloop deserve serious consideration? Two individuals give insight:

'What I really intended to do with the Hyperloop was spur interest in new forms of transportation.'   -Elon Musk

'Given how much pressure there is on the current system of roads and highways and rail lines, we can't afford to take any options off the table.'   -US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

Frozen in Los Angeles freeway traffic (while driving a Tesla) the experience inspired Mr. Musk for a better way to travel. He estimates (2013) the cost for the California High-Speed Rail at $68 billion, the estimate for Hyperloop $6 billion, or one-tenth the construction costs of Cal HSR. Both estimates will likely double but you get the idea. Mr. Musk is an expert at reducing development costs of conventional transport having won a $1.6 billion contract from NASA for a commercial launch vehicle to resupply of the International Space Station (ISS).

The engineering team entry from UC Irvine is developing a prototype half-scale vehicle named HYPERXITE (Facebook, Twitter) for testing at the Hyperloop site near the Space-X facility in Hawthorne California. Rather than ride on rails like the California high-speed rail system, the HYPERXITE design is a passenger pod riding on a cushion of air similar to a hockey-puck sliding on ice.          

Why is Hyperloop so exciting?  One reason is the amount of energy required to move freight and passengers in such a system over distances like the California corridor.  This chart shows the amount of energy required per passenger per journey using conventional transport versus Hyperloop. And of course, Hyperloop is solar powered.


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