The Hyperloop Vehicle Capsules Accelerated by a Linear Electric Motor up to 760 mph in Solar Powered Tubes


(T) Imagine that you could attend a lecture at UCLA in the morning, and at Stanford in the afternoon; or the same day that you finish coding a game in Palo Alto, you could meet a producer in Hollywood. Transit time: 35 minutes! One-way ticket: $20! Departures every 30 seconds! That’s the insanely great alternative to the present California high-speed train project to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles, that Elon Musk with the support of his engineering teams from SpaceX and Telsa is proposing to us with the Hyperloop.

I did promise that I’d do a paper on the Hyperloop, and things got a little hectic toward the end of last year…” Mr. Musk said in an interview earlier this year at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. But today, Mr. Musk published his paper on the Hyperloop, and following is its abstract:

“Existing conventional modes of transportation of people consists of four unique types: rail, road, water, and air. These modes of transport tend to be either relatively slow (i.e., road and water), expensive (i.e., air), or a combination of relatively slow and expensive (i.e., rail). Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that seeks to change this paradigm by being both fast and inexpensive for people and goods. Hyperloop is also unique in that it is an open design concept, similar to Linux. Feedback is desired from the community that can help advance the Hyperloop design and bring it from concept to reality.

Hyperloop consists of a low-pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low-pressure tube with rotors contained in each capsule. Passengers may enter and exit Hyperloop at stations located either at the ends of the tube, or branches along the tube length.


The Hyperloop capsule in tube cutaway with attached solar arrays

…The initial route, preliminary design, and logistics of the Hyperloop transportation system have been derived. The system consists of capsules that travel between Los Angeles, California and San Francisco, California. The total trip time is approximately half an hour, with capsules departing as often as every 30 seconds from each terminal and carrying 28 people each. This gives a total of 7.4 million people each way that can be transported each year on Hyperloop. The total cost of Hyperloop in this analysis is under $6 billion USD. Amortizing this capital cost over 20 years and adding daily operational costs gives a total of about $20 USD (in current year dollars) plus operating costs per one-way ticket on the passenger Hyperloop.”

Because of his responsibilities at both SpaceX and Telsa, Mr. Musk will not lead the implementation of the Hyperloop although he might be participating in a proof of concept. Instead, he is proposing it as an open source project. Everyone can contribute to or implement the present set of specifications available at either: or

But let’s hope that Mr. Musk will find the time to make the Hyperloop happen! We desperately need it! And not too many people can make it happen!

Note: The two pictures above are from the Hyperloop specifications.


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Categories: Autonomous Vehicles