Elon Musk on the Hyperloop: 'It's like getting a ride on Space Mountain'

In a highly anticipated unveiling prefaced by Musk last week, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO outlines his vision for high-speed travel.

A mock-up from SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk of his proposed Hyperloop concept. SpaceX

Elon Musk revealed Monday a more complete outline of the proposed Hyperloop system in a blog post published on the Web site of his company SpaceX.

Musk's primary clarifications are on its top speed -- up to 800 mph -- and the physical components and mechanics of such a system that he says will be most effective for cities within 1,000 miles of one another.

Described as shotgun-like tubes spread 50 to 100 yards apart, the Hyperloop would operate by keeping a low-pressure interior that would work in much the same fashion as a vacuum-sealed tube but without as many of the safety complications. Using a linear acceleration method -- much like a railgun -- the system would use electromagnetic energy to accelerate and then reverse the high-speed movement of the pods for a safe slowdown.

As for the general feel of riding in the Hyperloop, Musk told Businessweek, "It would have less lateral acceleration -- which is what tends to make people feel motion sick -- than a subway ride, as the pod banks against the tube like an airplane. Unlike an airplane, it is not subject to turbulence, so there are no sudden movements. It would feel supersmooth.

"It's like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland."

Musk has been transparent about the Hyperloop concept being a way to instigate discussion, and that he has neither the time nor the means to build it himself. Further details will be revealed during a conference call at 2 p.m. PT. Stay tuned for more details.

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About the author

Nick Statt is a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.

 

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