Hyperloop

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Tiller
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Hyperloop

Postby Tiller » August 20th, 2015, 4:15 pm

While I usually am the person to put down things like the hyperloop and PRT (since they're used as cop-outs for transit/rail investment), I noticed this was trending on facebook, and that we didn't have a thread for discussing it yet.

http://www.techinsider.io/hyperloop-tra ... ion-2015-8

What role/market would the hyperloop serve?

Edit: a cool infographic I just ran across:
http://www.popsci.com/article/technolog ... ion-look-0

nBode
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby nBode » August 21st, 2015, 1:12 am

Fun fact: the distance between St. Paul and Chicago is nearly exactly the same as between Los Angeles and San Francisco (which is the corridor Elon Musk originally conjectured the system being built for. I think I remember him saying that distance seemed a good starting point, or something...).

trigonalmayhem

Re: Hyperloop

Postby trigonalmayhem » August 21st, 2015, 6:55 am

It's a modern day monorail fantasy but for intercity transit.

holmstar
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby holmstar » August 21st, 2015, 8:53 am

trigonalmayhem wrote:It's a modern day monorail fantasy but for intercity transit.
Normally, I'd agree, but Musk is a determined guy. Pretty interesting read: http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/05/elon-musk ... t-man.html Yeah, I know, the title doesn't exactly suggest an impartial author, but it's probably the best write up I've read on Musk/Tesla/Spacex, and pretty entertaining too.

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Re: Hyperloop

Postby Silophant » August 21st, 2015, 9:25 am

Sure, but Musk isn't doing this. He just wrote up the idea, glossed over the engineering difficulties, slapped an absurdly low cost estimate on it, and threw it on the internet, which promptly said "OMG MUSK IS SO AWESOME" (which is true) and ran with it. Now there's a bunch of engineers working on it, and they may very well solve the engineering difficulties. But they can't engineer their way into hundreds of miles of free ROW. So, Hyperloop remains, very literally, a pipe dream.

holmstar
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby holmstar » August 21st, 2015, 9:29 am

Silophant wrote:Sure, but Musk isn't doing this. He just wrote up the idea, glossed over the engineering difficulties, slapped an absurdly low cost estimate on it, and threw it on the internet, which promptly said "OMG MUSK IS SO AWESOME" (which is true) and ran with it. Now there's a bunch of engineers working on it, and they may very well solve the engineering difficulties. But they can't engineer their way into hundreds of miles of free ROW. So, Hyperloop remains, very literally, a pipe dream.
True, but Musk is still working to push the idea forward, hence the design competition next summer. Also, the leading companies working on the tech are farther along than I would have guessed.

scottiem
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby scottiem » August 21st, 2015, 9:48 am

Well it looks like they're going to at least build that 5 mile test track, in time, so let's see how that goes first before making broad generalizations about the whole thing being a farce. The obstacles the Silophant mentions would be faced by any intercity transit system. That puts it at roughly the same chances as the highspeed rail proposed for LA<-->SF, barring the engineering difficulties (which I read recently aren't that insurmountable). I'm not saying that HSR isn't close a pipe dream too, but is there any sense of hope for improving intercity travel? I say let them at least try.

EOst
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby EOst » August 21st, 2015, 9:56 am

Remember, Hyperloop requires a virtually straight ROW. That's a massively more difficult challenge than HSR.

mulad
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby mulad » August 21st, 2015, 11:29 am

Here's a PDF of the initial Hyperloop idea:

http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/file ... 130812.pdf

I haven't bothered reading through it yet, so I'll reserve full judgment. Broadly, I'll say that I don't think this is an impossible idea, but it will most likely take decades of research -- just look at maglev technology, which people have been studying for something like 50 years and we only have a couple of real-world examples so far. It works, but is expensive and took a long time to get right.

I don't really like the idea since it is a carrot people are using to entice us away from making practical investments now with existing technology. It's reasonable to study it, but I highly doubt it would be a magical breakthrough that would be dramatically better than anything else that already exists in rail or airline travel.

trigonalmayhem

Re: Hyperloop

Postby trigonalmayhem » August 21st, 2015, 11:56 am

It's the prt of intercity high speed rail. Suck up attention and funding and delay or kill any real attempts to do something real.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Hyperloop

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 21st, 2015, 1:12 pm

If you want to read some decent commentary on the massive challenges it faces, check these out:

https://pedestrianobservations.wordpres ... repreneur/
http://stopandmove.blogspot.com/2013/08 ... tempt.html

I don't want to be the person that tells people not to dream big or to go innovate. I'm fine if private money is spent looking into it, I'd even be fine with some public research money. But it certainly feels like a high-speed equivalent PRT hair-brained idea that should be really taken with a grain of salt when we know that HSR can work pretty durn well.


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