If you live in Los Angeles, the Hyperloop is coming to a warehouse near you. Or at least, its development is.
The Hyperloop is the brainchild of Elon Musk, best known as the man at the head of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. It is a high-speed transportation system, still in the theoretical stage, that will transport passengers and cargo at speeds up to 750 mph (1200 kph) — basically Mach 1. This speed would shorten travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to about a half hour. And though it’s Musk’s idea, he doesn’t sit on Hyperloop’s board nor is he an officer of the company.
The Hyperloop is Musk’s ideal transportation system short of teleportation. It hinges on building an above or underground tube containing a very special environment. The environment is the tricky part. One idea is to turn the tube into a human-sized version of the pneumatic tubes used to send mail between buildings and use powerful fans to push the pods at high speed. Another idea is to turn the tube into a near vacuum and have the pods float the length of the tube on powerful electromagnets. In either case, the idea is to have the people pods hovering a few tenths of an inch or so above the bottom of the tube traveling at speeds that exceed what wheels can handle.
It’s all still very futuristic, but the company taking up residence in Los Angeles is a small step towards its realization. This week, Hyperloop Technologies Inc., one of the companies working on bringing the system to life, has moved into a new building and added twenty new workers to its fold.
Hyperloop World Headquarters in now in a 6,500-square-foot unassuming industrial space in the Arts District. The building is wedged between Interstate 10, the Los Angeles River, and, appropriately for a transportation company, railroad tracks. And it looks like Hyperloop is in the area for the long haul with a commitment to leasing almost 38,000 square feet in its current building and a neighboring building in the next year.
There will certainly be tests before Hyperloop travel is available to the masses, but if it does turn out to be something feasible and eventually widespread, it will change the way we commute.
IMAGE: New York Times