On Monday, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled a transportation concept that he said could whisk passengers the nearly 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes - half the time it takes an airplane. If it's ever built. His "Hyperloop" system for travel between major cities is akin to the pneumatic tubes that transport capsules stuffed with paperwork in older buildings, informs Yakima Herald-Republic.
The steel tubes are arranged in a loop, hence the name, built between two cities points. The tubes would generally sit side-by-side, so the Hyperloop would look like a double-barrelled shotgun from outside. Through these tubes, aluminium pods on skis will be flying at high speeds. The skis use "air bearings" (holes that pump out air) to reduce friction, and the air inside the tubes is low density to do the same. The air will also be circulating through the loop in the direction of travel at 200-300mph, but it won't be the air that is driving the pod - it will be a linear accelerator, according to PC Authority.
Musk estimates that the cost of the project would fall between $6 billion and $7.5 billion, depending on whether the Hyperloop would ship cargo as well as passengers. Although the initial plan is tailored specifically to Los Angeles and San Francisco, Musk also mentioned other potential cities that could incorporate Hyperloop, including San Diego and Las Vegas, says News 92 FM.