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Transport Expert Insists 'Don't Dismiss Wacky Hyperloop'

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

Transportation 385

DavidGilbert99 writes "Since Elon Musk announced the details of Hyperloop earlier this week, we've seen a number of experts debunking the technology involved, but at least one is more upbeat about the possibility of 600MPH train travel. Speaking to Alistair Charlton at IBTimes UK, professor Phil Blythe from the Institute of Engineering and Technology said: 'My gut feeling is, don't dismiss it out of hand just because it sounds a bit wacky,' adding 'You're always going to have long distance travel, and if there was something that could replace air travel between cities and hubs, and is low carbon [with] low energy requirements, it make sense to explore it, it really does.'"

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OTOH (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44581513)

See John Oliver's take on it [google.com] .

(He actually pokes fun at the media coverage rather than at Teh Loop itself.)

Sure it's a loopy idea (5, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44581531)

It is a loopy idea, but not fundementally unsound in any way.

Every aspect of it, from the induction motors, to the earthquake proofing to the aerodynamics to the solar power is all well understood.

The difficult bit is really the engineering on a large project and developing all the parts and actually building the thing. I wouldn't trust most people with it and the usual suspects for government contacting would surely make a massice hash of it and cause a 50x budget overrun.

But that's nothing to do with the project per-se. Musk does have the kind of track record showing he can pull off big, complex engineering projects which are generally regarded as difficult and expensive applications of existing tech. Not only pull them off but do them well, quickly and cheaply.

So please, don't bring up arichair engineer objections to the design without first reading that big, long document which covers most of them and actually providing some reasoning.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (5, Insightful)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581597)

Land is going to be what kills this project, before it even gets as far as anything technical. How do you acquire the land for the route as a private entity, without eminent domain?

Every time you buy a parcel of land the neighboring parcels know they're suddenly worth a fortune to you, because you can't just go around them at 800 mph. You have to stay within safe and comfortable G-force maxima for your passengers, which means no more than gentle changes in routing -- and that means you'll have hundreds of hold-out roadblocks in the midst of your route, refusing to sell unless you can provide them with an instant and very comfortable retirement. And if you can't persuade them to sell... well, somehow you have to find a route around them, and buy even more property to make your new route happen.

And then there's the neighbors whose property you aren't buying who will mire you in lawsuits because they don't want an ugly Hyperloop system at the end of their property.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581623)

ummm.... ever consider underground?

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581653)

still NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (2)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581695)

It was directly stated that it would be overground on stilts. Underground would bring its own set of challenges.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (2)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#44581789)

ummm.... ever consider underground?

354 miles underground, that's 4 times the length of the longest tunnel in the world (Thirlmere aqueduct), which itself was mainly cut-and-cover.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (5, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581639)

Land is going to be what kills this project, before it even gets as far as anything technical. How do you acquire the land for the route as a private entity, without eminent domain?

If you had even read the basic media coverage of this, you would know that he is proposing mounting this over the central reservation on freeways, so no land purchasing would be necessary.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Burz (138833) | about a year ago | (#44581689)

I doubt that freeways will be straight enough to let a 600MPH vehicle move properly. Does hyperloop come with inertial dampeners?

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581723)

Also covered in the document that Elon Musk released. You haven't actually read it have you?.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (5, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581821)

A quick look at the freeways between LA and SF shows that they are mostly straight, with only very minor turns occasionally. A quick look shows that there's only two places where the route curves more tightly than the 14km radius turn required to keep under 1g acceleration at 800mph. Both of these locations are close to the end points, where the thing would still be under acceleration anyway, and if you really wanted to run at 800mph through them, there are 14km radius turns available in the area.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581861)

I suggest you try zooming in on the map. And also considering that roads are three dimensional, and unless you're considering all three dimensions, you're wasting your time.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581875)

The third dimension is trivial to avoid tight turns in, and even zooming in on the map reveals no significant tight turns that can't be straightened simply by dodging from one side of the road to the other.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581887)

Zoom in more. I see plenty.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44581951)

"Enhance."

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581933)

You may also want to draw your 14km radius turn on the map, to see what it looks like. Here you go: http://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm [freemaptools.com] ...and now look at everything from Santa Clarita to Lebec, and everything from Tracy to the San Francisco area. Or are you putting your train stations an hour's drive outside of each city? Because if so... well, you're making them drive a third of the entire route from one city to the other just to get to your Hyperloop. And I guarantee you once you zoom in far enough, that straight-looking stuff in between Lebec and Tracy has areas where the curve is too tight to stay in the confines of the road while traveling comfortably at 800mph as well. I'm just pointing out the *really* obvious bits here. The bits that don't come even close to a 14km radius.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581961)

Why would you go anywhere near Santa Clara? The proposal is to go up the I5. And no one claimed there would be no deviation from the freeway, just only minor deviation. If you'd actually read the documentation you'd also see that where you do deviate the issue is far less of an issue than for a conventional railway, because being mid-air, the farmer only has to put up with a few pylons being placed in his field, rather than a 30m wide swath that he can't cross. The bottom line is that it is substantially easier to get this across the country, and requires substantially less land purchasing. Where it does involve land purchasing, it's much easier to convince the owners that it's okay, due to not cutting their land in half, and not taking a large section of it; and it's substantially cheaper because you only need to buy the land to site the pylon bases.

Generally, it's a win all round compared to railways.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581701)

How many freeways do you know that are designed for 800mph travel?

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (3, Funny)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about a year ago | (#44581719)

In the prairies? Damn near all of them.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581747)

It doesn't matter if they were designed for it or not. They happen to be straight enough anyway, bar a very few locations. This simplifies the land grab issue thousands of fold. Given that this is being proposed as an alternative for a rail link that requires a land grab along its entire route, that's a massively simplified problem.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#44582019)

Isn't this supposed to be built in the right-of-way for highways designed for vehicles going at 70mph, but now we have vehicles going 600mph?

Sure, you're not engineering against the traction-value of tires on pavement, but there's going to be some significant discomfort going through those turns.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44581649)

Land is going to be what kills this project

Yeah thats why I think Musk should look for a way to build the tubes under the surface of the ocean. Tether them from weights with cables, just deep enough to avoid surface movement. Build a standard, modular tube segments. Float them and sink them.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

kylegordon (159137) | about a year ago | (#44581677)

Did you actually read the original paper? It addresses the land problem.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581713)

Enlighten us: What's the solution. It doesn't run underground. (It was directly stated that it would be on stilts in the media coverage I read.) It doesn't run along freeways. (They're not designed for the constraints of 800mph travel.) So... where does it run?

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581759)

It does run along freeways. You're making a false assumption that because something wasn't designed to carry things at 800mph, it can't carry them at that speed. the vast majority of the freeways are dead straight, or involve only very gentle curves. The small areas where the curves are too tight can be shortcut across, which will indeed require a small amount of land grab, but this is being proposed as an alternative to a rail link that would involve a land grab along its entire length, so that's already a vastly simplified problem.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581873)

Freeways look straight when your map is zoomed out. Now zoom in. Not so straight any more. Plus you're only considering them in two dimensions.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44581955)

The tube can go from side to side across the freeway to straighten those out.

Maybe you could try reading the proposal before handing out Armchair Engineer advice.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

SuperDre (982372) | about a year ago | (#44581983)

Why should he explain it, as it's fully explained in the full document (just like most media that covers it hasn't read it).. So don't be lazy and just RTFD....

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44581743)

Land is going to be what kills this project, before it even gets as far as anything technical. How do you acquire the land for the route as a private entity, without eminent domain?

Somehow it didn't seem to be a problem when the railway was being built over Indian lands... *ducks*

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44581761)

How do you acquire the land for the route as a private entity, without eminent domain?

Didn't he say he was just pushing the idea, not going to implement it himself?

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581877)

Well yeah, there's that to it too, obviously. He's only seeking attention, not actually proposing a viable project.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Interesting)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#44581843)

Land is going to be what kills this project, before it even gets as far as anything technical. How do you acquire the land for the route as a private entity, without eminent domain?

Why would you?

There are 200+ national governments out there. Convince one of them that it makes sense partnering with you. Once the first hyperloop system is built other governments will follow, including the state of California sooner or later, assuming the system is vastly better than high speed rail. Governments are pretty thick but most of them won't turn down an obviously awesome offer that's going to create profits for businesses and jobs for citizens.

It does need to be really good to overcome the inertia of government stupidity coupled with big corporate lobbyism. There is already a maglev system called Transrapid that is somewhat better than HSR in almost every way (50% faster, slightly cheaper to operate, etc), but governments prefer to build steel on rails because it brings profit to several existing large corporations and their many lobbyists, as opposed to bringing profit to just the corporation that owns Transrapid and their (fewer) lobbyists.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#44582049)

Maglev is only slightly faster than TGV or similar high speed rail, and normal trains, eg freight services can't run on maglev tracks, whereas they can run on LGV tracks.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581915)

Land can be had in various ways. If it is on stilts anyway, put it above railroads that also run in straight lines. Done in cooperation with railroad companies, of course.

You can't just buy up private land for the reasons mentioned. If that is a problem, have government expropriate the land instead. Then, people get a reasonable price but no crazy price inflation. Lawsuits from those who don't want a hyperloop neighbour can be dealt with likewise - remove the legal basis for such silly suits. Government will have to decide if they want this kind of infrastructure at all. They already have the means to build roads where they want them - this can be extended to hyperloop stuff too.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#44582029)

Not to mention the most heavily over-regulated, eco-nut dominated state in the union.

The protests against it for every reason from noise pollution to the presence of some endangered skink in a ditch on the route will alone prevent this project from ever reaching fruition.

Economics and the HyperLoop (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#44582155)

It's always the political, economic, and/or legal issues that kill these kinds of projects:The tech may be sound, but if you have your investment locked up in frivolous lawsuits, or bureaucratic red tape, your investors will, sooner or later, desert you: they want a return on investment, not "real soon now", but now. . . . But in the end, I suspect it's pure economics that will stop the Hyperloop, at least as initially described between San Francisco and LA. I'm not convinced there is sufficient traffic to support the costs and charges as foreseen. Most especially telling is that the load/fare estimates of 840 passengers/hour@$20/passenger. Assuning load is constant over the entire 24-hour period of the day, and there are no disruptions, you're only taking in a bit over $147 million in revenues. Maintenance, cleaning, operations all cost money, and the more likely pattern is only peak passengers during part of the business day. So I conclude, nifty idea, but economic fail. . . .

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44581685)

Musk does have the kind of track record showing he can pull off big, complex engineering projects which are generally regarded as difficult and expensive applications of existing tech. Not only pull them off but do them well, quickly and cheaply.

Citation, please. In particular:

1) What are the "difficult applications" which Musk himself is to be congratulated for? Don't confuse this with e.g. the artificial SpaceX arrangement, where a huge wad of NASA money sponsors experienced engineers who happen to work under the umbrella of a private enterprise merely to suit ideology.

2) What is regarded as "expensive", beyond the usual public-private agreement whereby a big contractor always makes the first hit nearly-free and then spends the rest of eternity milking the Treasury?

SpaceX is even less than another young aerospace government contractor, because while 75 years ago the pioneers existed in the private sphere and fed into government, today the government gives away to the private sector, for no good reason other than some people believe they are owed a cut.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year ago | (#44581829)

The car carrier is expected to weigh 3,500lbs with 3 cars inside! (And jet engine, chassis etc.) Given that ONE typical American car weighs this excluding passengers, there is a slight element of cloud cuckoo land about this.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Informative)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about a year ago | (#44581935)

Uh. nope. The passenger-only capsule is 15,000kg and the passenger+vehicle is 26,000kg. The only number close to 3,500lbs in the documents is the 3,500kg weight of the capsule external structure.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581963)

Typical american cars are very heavy steel things. They have a big internal combustion engine, and is built to survive a bumpy gravel road.

Hyperloop cars will not need to put up with bumps at all - they will float on air in a perfect straight tube. So no suspension. The frame is not subject to shocks or vibration, this simplifies the design. There is no bulky engine either, they use only electric power. Which also means no in-car fuel. So obviously these cars can be made much much lighter than any roadworthy car.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44581779)

It is a loopy idea, but not fundementally unsound in any way.

Ah, but that's irrelevant. The underlying plan is to build a prototype, get it panned on Top Gear, and sue them for lots of money.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581929)

It's a sealed railroad at 5 times the maximum speed of a hypertrain. 25 times the kinetic energy, rattling the supports at speeds and over distances that have never been approached by any mechanical ground based vehicle, and completely vulnerable to mechanical failure or flaw at any point along its pth.

The stresses involved and reliability requirements are both an order of magnitude greater than any ground based transport system. Coupled with Not In My Back Yard for this swooshing deathtrap, It Ain't Gonna Happen.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (2)

shilly (142940) | about a year ago | (#44582017)

I agree. I often think that if contact lenses hadn't already been invented, armchair theorists would be able to give you a dozen reasons why they couldn't work.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44582021)

"Musk does have the kind of track record showing he can pull off big, complex engineering projects which are generally regarded as difficult and expensive applications of existing tech."

if you were paying attention, you would remember that he is not going to be involved, as he his too busy with Tesla and SpaceX.

You moron.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#44582081)

Every aspect of it, from the induction motors, to the earthquake proofing to the aerodynamics to the solar power is all well understood.

That is a little disingenuous.

We are talking about an evacuated and elevated (near vacuum) tube with a loop 400 miles in diameter.

I've seen a lot of hand-waving but not much more when it comes to the rescue and retrieval of passengers trapped within the tube. Oxygen reserves. Emergency ventilation, access points and so on.

The behavior of people in tightly confined spaces can turn small problems into big ones. The primary job of a flight attendant is to maintain order and discipline on board. That is not a job which can easily be automated.

Will these cars even have an attendant?

I would like to hear more about traffic projections for the loop. More about the Hyperloop station. Rail takes you downtown, into the very heart of the city. But the infrastructure must be there to support it and that is expensive.

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44582159)

Please don't bring up air chair engineering stating how it is sound in every way. Let engineers get involved http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4094629&cid=44581895

Yah, it's cool, ya, I'ld ride it

Not sure Musk is up to this task as well. Have you seen The Revenge of the Electric Car? Did you read how Musk said he bit off more that he could chew with this one, and hopes it goes forward open source style?

Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (4, Interesting)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about a year ago | (#44582201)

I'm not an armchair engineer, but I am a real scientist. And while I have never seen anything at this scale, I have read a lot of proposals. This one did not set off my general bullshit alarm.

I really, really like that Musk has everyone talking about the Hyperloop and the ancillary discussions of public transportation in general, but there are a couple of details that are glossed over in the big, long document. One is the acceleration/braking by linear induction motors. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he seems to jump from idea that they already work in rotary engines and that MVA inverters are already commercialized (in mining equipment and trains) to the conclusion that they therefore will work in the linear configuration shown in the document. The wording there was sneaky.

The second is holding a vacuum, ~0.001 Atm., through the whole tube. Has that ever been demonstrated on such a large scale? He shows some metrics from commercial pumps, but then seems to assume that they will scale constantly with volume... how many pumps? Spaced how? What sort of maintenance requirements? How long to pump down the shunts at stations where modules are loaded/unloaded? Vacuum is non-trivial at commercial scales. Perhaps this sort of thing is commonplace and I have just never seen it (and I have seen vacuum chambers that would accommodate a pickup truck). But it felt to me like he was making a lot of assumptions about how easy it is to work with vacuum at those scales.

Those are both issues that can be demonstrated/prototyped, but it is as naive to say that the proposal was anything more than a whitepaper as it is to dismiss the whole thing out of hand.

Indeed ... (3, Interesting)

golodh (893453) | about a year ago | (#44581545)

Perhaps prof. Blythe was thinking of the Swissmetro project (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissmetro [wikipedia.org] ) which proposed to build high-speed train connections through low-pressure tunnels.

That project was reported to be both technically and economically feasible despite the handicap of having to tunnel all the way through granite. Apparently the project died for lack of interest and political will to see it through.

So, what people refer to as "Elon Musk's idea" really isn't new and also isn't nearly as wacky as some people seen to think. The thing that Elon Musk seems to be adding is marketing and PR. Perhaps that will make the difference.

Re:Indeed ... (2, Informative)

leehwtsohg (618675) | about a year ago | (#44581617)

The swissmetro is maglev. Also, I think that Elon Musk's main idea is to implement it in California along highway 5, solving the land problem.
It isn't an abstract invention, but a specific solution.

Re:Indeed ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581651)

It's maglev with an important change –you reduce the air pressure, to reduce drag, making it massively more efficient again. Elon Musk adds one key feature to the design –do it overground, with solar panels on top, in a very sunny state, and it powers itself.

Re:Indeed ... (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | about a year ago | (#44582191)

And, hyperloop isn't maglev, instead levitating on an air cushion.

There's a big difference between (1)

mitcheli (894743) | about a year ago | (#44581559)

Science Fiction and reality. I like the idea of Hyperloop, but what happens with a 600mph crash? How do you elevate tubes across thousands of miles and through Cities without A) creating curve that have g-forces too high to survive a 600mph turn or B) becoming so incredibly expensive for right of access rights that it becomes impossible? With cars holding a limited number of people, how do you address the mass populations? Jets carry hundreds and they're routinely overbooked. How does economies of scale fit in? Oh, I'm sure the realities could be vast on this idea. .. Hats off to Elon though, because there are those that do and there are those that do not. If he didn't do, we wouldn't have Tesla showing how electric cars can work.

Re:There's a big difference between (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44581613)

A lot of those queries were addressed in the their first conversations with the press. Look them up, there's some really good discussion.

BTW jets are overbooked because it's the best way to maximise the profit on a flight, not because of any underlying logistical issue. An unsold seat is a wasted fraction of a trip, so they overbook to ensure that even if an unusually large number of passengers cancel, the flight will still be full. It'd take only a few extra planes in the air to provide everyone a seat, but that's not an option in the low margins business.

Re:There's a big difference between (2)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year ago | (#44581645)

Q: What happens in a 600mph crash ?
A: You die anyway, even TGV (train with huge velocity) the rails are shielded by fences along with CCTV and detectors, at such speeds you can only prevent catastrophe with preemptive measures, there is no AFFORDABLE other way, but you also fly by airplane right, and take on that risk ?

Q: How do you elevate?
A: you place them under ground

Q: G-Forces
A: www.wikipedia.org calculate how big a circle must be, to put only 2-3 G-s on the body, it's not that big .. r=500m or so

Q: Limited number of people ?
A: We can use busses "serial vs. parallel" Airplanes=PCI , SingleSeaterTubes=PCI-express
You adjust the frequency. And yes PCI won over PCI-express or ?

Better question
Q: How high is the demand from travelling shortdistances at high speeds(500mph) ?
A: simply, overestimated & maintainance & security costs for LOOP are underestimated.

Current normal train technology works there better, but in any case you need infrastructure and this is why the airplane currently wins,
it just needs to infrastructural centers and a "free" sky when the sky is "full" than train(normal, maglev, vac) technology will be viable.

Re:There's a big difference between (2)

mitcheli (894743) | about a year ago | (#44581785)

Q: How do you elevate?
A: you place them under ground

And if you think it's expensive to elevate it over the highways (proposed idea) just imagine how much it will cost to go underground [wikipedia.org] .

Re:There's a big difference between (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581853)

China has a lot of its high speed trains on elevated bridges criss-crossing through the country. They don't seem to think it is too expensive.

Re:There's a big difference between (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581949)

China has a lot of its high speed trains on elevated bridges criss-crossing through the country. They don't seem to think it is too expensive.

Yes, but China is a developed nation with wealth while the USA is a failing nation of obese, scared of their own potential. There is no way such great project can be achieve since the post WWII golden age of 1950-2000 is long gone.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44581797)

Q: How do you elevate?
A: you place them under ground

Wrong, this is one of the key features here – it's overground, so that it doesn't involve expensive tunnelling, and can have solar cells on top of it to power the thing.

Q: G-Forces
A: www.wikipedia.org calculate how big a circle must be, to put only 2-3 G-s on the body, it's not that big .. r=500m or so

Bear in mind that most humans never experience even 2g acceleration. About the most likely place they are to experience 2g is at a go-kart track, and for most, 45 minutes of that will give them neck ache because their neck muscles are not used to supporting their head under that load. You'd need to keep cornering forces to under 0.5-1g, but even that requires 14km radius turns.

Re:There's a big difference between (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44581823)

According to their previous comments, it banks during turns so the acceleration felt during cornering is always downwards.

Re:There's a big difference between (2)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | about a year ago | (#44582007)

In planes they avoid the whole issue by using anti-gravity fields.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year ago | (#44582125)

Rollercoaster!

yep your correction is correct but only because my eastamate was wrong, please keep in mind that acceleration is m/s^2 and not directly g's
but radius=500m and 2x G is indeed wrong, but ...

r=14000m
v=700km/h (dont know the exact corrected value)

the circle would be 87km (2*pi*r) long it would take 452.6s to round it one time, thus the
w=2*pi* 1/452.6

a= (w^2) * r = 2.7 m/s^2

this is in terms of g (0.28 times g) (2.7 m/s^2 / (9.81m/s^2))

this is nothing, the radius term is linear
r=2000m

12km/700km/h * 3600 = 65s

w=2*pi* 1/(65s) = 0.097 rad/s
a= (0.097)^2 * 2000m = 19 m/s^2

ok, obese people should not measure their weight while cornering!

500m radius 7.7G hehe some will die!

1.) see comment, (downward)
2.) see calculation

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44582165)

To be fair, humans are quite capable of withstanding 7.7G – just only laterally and longitudinally. Vertically it's a problem.

Laterally our limit is around 30G. Formula 1 drivers happily pull 6-7G turning with no need for a G-suit.
Longitudinally we have no known limit before we turn into a pulp like substance.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

r33per (585447) | about a year ago | (#44582143)

Q: How do you elevate? A: you place them under ground

Wrong, this is one of the key features here – it's overground

Over ground, under ground: I'll be wombling free.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581667)

When approaching a turn, maybe it will be smart enough to slow down? Use your brain, moran.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

mitcheli (894743) | about a year ago | (#44581749)

I believe it's spelled moron. But regardless, the whole concept of this system is to keep a consistent flow of traffic a high speeds. Slowing down for turns would break that model and could create congestion. Hence me question.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about a year ago | (#44581813)

I believe it's spelled moron. But regardless, the whole concept of this system is to keep a consistent flow of traffic a high speeds. Slowing down for turns would break that model and could create congestion. Hence me question.

If its necessary to slow down at specific spots then the traffic pattern can be adjusted to manage this. Hint: closed systems are very easy to model. You get congestion because of changes in the traffic pattern. All other travel systems are subject to weather effect which disrupt the normal operations and generate congestion.

Re:There's a big difference between (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | about a year ago | (#44581849)

it wouldn't create any congestion. On roads congestion happens because every single human driver with his pathetic reflexes adds 1s delay.
If the cars are comp controlled and programmed for the same V(x), interval between cars would be constant for each x.

Why all the fuss? (1)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44581573)

I don't get it.
Sure, it sounds fantastic, but isn't this pretty much the same as a system proposed way back in the 50s?
I'm pretty sure I saw that in a reprint of an ancient Popular Mechanic.
(Maybe it was Popular Science, but was that one even being printed in the 50s?)

Besides that, he's not putting any money into it, and he doesn't have blueprints or anything, just an idea. Science Fiction writers do that level of work all the time with new ideas.

On a technical note, what about shifting of the ground, especially with earthquakes and the like. It probably only has a fraction of the tolerance to that which railroads have, especially at the speeds he's mentioning.

Popular Science (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#44581659)

I'm pretty sure I saw that in a reprint of an ancient Popular Mechanic. (Maybe it was Popular Science, but was that one even being printed in the 50s?)

Popular Science in its modern form was first published in 1915. Popular Mechanics, 1902. In its prime, Popular Science published countless projects for the amateur scientist, radio hobbyist, model maker, craftsman and mechanic. along with some very good reporting on sciences, technologies, medicine, the military and so on.

Re:Why all the fuss? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44581783)

Sure, it sounds fantastic, but isn't this pretty much the same as a system proposed way back in the 50s?

Our modern space launchers are "pretty much the same system proposed way back in 1900's" [wikipedia.org] . And I don't see you grumbling about that.

Musk: All talk, No action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581589)

What will he say next week to be in the news ?

Re:Musk: All talk, No action (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about a year ago | (#44581605)

Indeed. He's the second coming of Dean Kamen.

Re:Musk: All talk, No action (2)

stoploss (2842505) | about a year ago | (#44581643)

What will he say next week to be in the news ?

Indeed. He's the second coming of Dean Kamen.

Precisely. He's like Dean Kamen, but with hookers and blackjack^W^W^Welectric cars and rockets capable of achieving orbit.

Re:Musk: All talk, No action (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581799)

What will he say next week to be in the news ?

I know. For those of us that go around far exceeding the action of just designing and launching a successful electric car and credible challenge to the established auto-industry and develop and produce space vehicles, including the he first privately funded liquid-fuelled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit, he is all talk.

Re:Musk: All talk, No action (2)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44581957)

What will he say next week to be in the news ?

I know. For those of us that go around far exceeding the action of just designing and launching a successful electric car and credible challenge to the established auto-industry and develop and produce space vehicles, including the he first privately funded liquid-fuelled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit, he is all talk.

but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?

Sorry, were we not doing this?

blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581599)

Ad hominem attacks on Phil Blythe

Dismissive comments about the project from people who have no real understanding of the topic

Supportive comments about the project from people who have no real understanding of the topic

Some jokes

There, I've saved you the trouble of reading the whole thread!

Re:blah blah blah (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44581755)

There, I've saved you the trouble of reading the whole thread!

So why didn't you post that up at the top?

Run it through the ocean (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44581625)

That way land is free and the tube can be made totally standard and mass produced. Anchor it to the sea floor at a depth of 50 meters. That would make it easy to run between LA and SF, and many other routes would become easy too.

Re:Run it through the ocean (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#44581739)

That way land is free and the tube can be made totally standard and mass produced. Anchor it to the sea floor at a depth of 50 meters. That would make it easy to run between LA and SF, and many other routes would become easy too.

Like London to NY, in 5 hours, or LA-Tokyo in under 8.

Wacky! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581657)

December 17, 1903, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina:

Orville Wright: In 50 years time we'll be putting hundreds of people into metal tubes and hurling them through the air at hundreds of miles an hour by squirting hot air out the back.

Transport Experts: What a stupid idea! There's no way that would work!

Re:Wacky! (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44581793)

The difference is that airplane technology did not need a preexisting, massive and massively expensive infrastructure in order to make 5 decades of incremental technological and operational progress.

The idea is sound but not our pockets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581765)

It's virtually impossible for the US to adopt such methods of public transportation without it breaking the economy even more. There's no ROI, only deficit with projects like these. US cities were built very strangely because of the availability of land and wanting to spread around as much of it as possible, instead of mingling near cities. With that said, you would have to drive to one of those pod centers and then shoot your way across town or the other and eventually get near where you want to go. From there, you'll have to get a taxi to get to work. The Hyperloop would work great in countries like China, Japan, Philippines, South Korea etc... But not the US or Canada where it makes no financial sense to support it.

Re:The idea is sound but not our pockets (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about a year ago | (#44581831)

Instead they are planning on sinking 10x the amount into high speed rail that won't compete with current airline times and prices. This is as much a call on sense of the high speed rail programme as it is the proposal itself.

Re:The idea is sound but not our pockets (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44581845)

Actually the whole idea is that it is a profitable venture, one that's orders of magnitude cheaper than a conventional rail link over the same distance.

Re:The idea is sound but not our pockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581985)

And if I look in everyone's ears, I can pull out enough quarters to pay for it! It used to work for my uncle buying ice cream!

test freight containers first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581807)

test freight containers first for at least 5 years. then only human trials.

Futurama travel tubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581827)

nuff said

Re:Futurama travel tubes (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44581973)

nuff said

I dunno. Futurama depicts those tubes as having a very tight turn radius. That can't be good for your spine.

It's untested tecnology (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44581863)

There are a lot of good ideas here, and there's no reason that this would be an engineering impossibility. The problem is just a risk ratio.

This will cost billions even if everything had been ested. there will be some ideas that work on paper but in practivce need to be re-engineered. this happened with the Space Shuttle and even the Shinkansen; where the basic technology was already well understood.

only Americans would get excited about a hyperloop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44581865)

when they haven't successfully built a high-speed rail line (and don't try to pass of the Acela Express as high-speed rail). Good luck dealing with the noise pollution. Has he even ridden on the ICE and seen the efforts required to reduce noise pollution?

Re:only Americans would get excited about a hyperl (1)

shilly (142940) | about a year ago | (#44582087)

You do realise this is in a closed tunnel, right? I'm preeetty sure it'll be a whole heckuva lot quieter than a train, a plane or a road for that reason alone.

10% of the capacity of high-speed rail (4, Informative)

jfruh (300774) | about a year ago | (#44581895)

An actual transit engineer crunches the numbers here:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/19848/musks-hyperloop-math-doesnt-add-up/

And finds that while the journey for individuals may be faster, the system as a whole would have one-tenth the capacity (i.e., the ability to move people in numbers) than the planned high-speed rail system. You could solve this problem by building 10 times as many tubes, of course, but that would eliminate the 90% cost savings Musk is touting.

The radically reduced travel times vs. HSR are also deceiving. The maps Musk released show the system travelling from the fringes of the Bay Area to the fringes of the LA area, because it's hard/expensive/impossible to get land for the straightaways you'd need for the project within densely built up urban areas. To get from San Francisco to the hyperloop station, or from the hyperloop station to downtown LA, you'd have to switch to local transit or drive, which will double or triple travel time. Not coincidentally, must of the construction and expense that adds to HSR's very high price tag will come in SF and LA urban areas, since that system goes from downtown to downtown.

Re:10% of the capacity of high-speed rail (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#44582205)

And finds that while the journey for individuals may be faster, the system as a whole would have one-tenth the capacity (i.e., the ability to move people in numbers) than the planned high-speed rail system.

I keep thinking of the Concorde, which become economically viable as luxury high speed transport only after its enormous development costs were written off as a dead loss.

To get from San Francisco to the hyperloop station, or from the hyperloop station to downtown LA, you'd have to switch to local transit or drive, which will double or triple travel time.

That suggests the Hyperloop from LA or San Francisco is not an impulse buy or a practical commute even at $20.

Inspiration (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#44581991)

I'm using this as inspiration for my new transit technology: giant rubber band sling.

Left off a zero (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44582093)

Should read 6000MPH travel, since after all he's claiming New York to LA in 30 minutes. And, that's average, so accounting for the need to slow down at times, peak speeds probably need to reach closer to 10000 MPH in the Plains states.

Already been tested (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#44582157)

In the 1970ies when I way just a boy, I found an "old" book from the 1960ies. They already discussed the same concept together with maglev and other high speed ground based transportation systems. As of today all these high speed "trains" are very expensive and bring little benefit to populated areas. A ground based vehicle which is as fast as a plane is most likely technical possible, but the infrastructure cost would be extreme. Therefore, it would only be an option for short distances. At short distances that much speed makes no big difference.

BTW. the Chinese have developed trains with similar speeds, which are able to run that fast. If they had worked with higher precision, the trains could use that speed in a reliable way.

 

Well-Known Principle: PTT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44582171)

Has been used in PTT (Pneumatic Tube Transport) [wikipedia.org] for 140 years.

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