Billionaire inventor Elon Musk has finally unveiled the plans for his "fifth mode of transport", the futuristic 'Hyperloop' megatrain.
The long-hyped high-speed mass transit system was revealed in a 57-page PDF document.
The system would essentially be a solar-powered elevated railway, enclosed inside a low-friction, low-pressure tube. Using air inlets at the front of the train, air would be fed to an electric turbo compressor, feeding it to the 'skis' and the cabin.
According to the designs the Hyperloop Alpha would be capable of transporting passengers at nearly 800 miles an hour - enabling riders to feasibly travel from London to Edinburgh in less than 30 minutes. While the outline document is little more than a 'napkin sketch', experts said it does contain several novel ideas that could one day make their way into a real system.
Musk, who is the co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, said that while he he will probably build a prototype, he does not have the time to make the Hyperloop himself. Instead he hopes that others will be able to take the idea and turn it into a reality.
"If it was my top priority, I could probably get it done in one or two years," he said.
Musk said that the system would be ideal for travel between cities that are about 900 miles apart, admitting that over longer distances super-sonic air travel would probably be faster and cheaper.
In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek he added that the system would run without a schedule, with pods leaving constantly.
"Generally, though, the safe distance between the pods would be about 5 miles, so you could have about 70 pods between Los Angeles and San Francisco that leave every 30 seconds. It's like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland," he said.
Check out an artist's rendering of a Hyperloop pod below:
Musk said he was inspired to develop the idea after watching the state of California approve a $70 billion construction plan for a relatively low-speed rail system. His Hyperloop - though currently theoretical - would travel four times as fast, and involve less costs since it would be designed to run above the current Interstate 5 route. He estimates that the system would cost just $6 billion to build, and would reuse some of the same technology that has already seen his SpaceX 'Dragon' capsules successfully send cargo to the International Space Station.
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