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Hyperloop pushes dream of low-cost futuristic transport

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My main concern is whether it's really safe or not. Flying through a tube at 760 miles per hour (1220 km/hour) seems like it could be quite dangerous.

What happens if, for whatever reason, the sides of the vehicle suddenly begin rubbing against the tube? Will the friction cause an explosive fire and/or desintegration.of the vehicle?

How do people get out of the tube if there's ever an accident or a stoppage?

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It will be expensive to build and maintain. Japan needs to spend this kind of money on other things like adequate daycare for example. Trains are already fast enough.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Tim Did you bother to read the article.Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that Japan is interested in HTT

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It may sound like the stuff of science fiction

It IS the stuff of science fiction, but so were mobile phones at one time. Science fiction is almost the blueprint of humanity, it is the stuff of ideas, that we then turn into reality.

The hyperloop is something that has been theorized in plenty of science fiction over the years, and will very likely become true. It's an efficient method of travel at high speeds, that if done right should also be quite safe.

If the metrics beat out maglev, that would be a bad thing or Japan, as they are investing so heavily into maglev technology in the hopes they'll be able to sell it to others as well.

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It will be impressive to see how they keep a 200 mile long tube as vacuum, while still allowing entrance and exits along the way for emergency needs. If they can't get most of the air out, going that fast just isn't possible. Air becomes incompressible near mach 1+ speeds. Imagine trying to push a plunger for 200 miles - that's what will happen if they don't get the air out. Maintaining a large vacuum is hard - really hard.

I'm not actually concerned about it staying inside the tubes or rubbing against the sides. Control systems can easily handle that today in a highly redundant way.

Plus they need to partner with some company that already has right-of-way leases/ownership for the track location and have money left over to fight the legal battles that Amtrack, Greyhound, Delta, UA, AA will all bring.

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Flying through a tube at 760 miles per hour...

For a sec, I thought you were discussing airplanes - those would be IN a tube. I suppose they'll have cars traveling consecutively, one for passengers and one for luggage, both due to size restrictions and safety.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but developers insist their dream of passengers seated in pods shooting through a tube above the ground will become a reality by 2020—and change travel as we know it.

It's not the stuff of science fiction, because SF has no responsibility to deliver machines or technology, and people don't actually expect it to. As presented, it's pure hype, and ignores some of the most basic principles of business and technology.

There's such a thing as taking the piss. Every single aspect of this project is too good to be true: more than double the speed of maglev, much faster than an airliner; an entirely new transportation technology ready for the commercial market in record time, with not a single kilometre of commercial track built; and cheaper for passengers than a conventional train service.

To manage even one of these would be a considerable achievement, particularly as at the moment, this project barely exists.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's not practical for long distance travel since you are cramped in a sitting position with no access to a toilet for more then an hour and has no emergency exit if and when it stops mid way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's not practical for long distance travel since you are cramped in a sitting position with no access to a toilet for more then an hour

The shinkansen (bullet train) has spaces of an hour when it doesn't stop. They've come up with a pretty innovative solution to the problem - they put toilets on the train. I don't see why they couldn't do that with the hyperloop.

and has no emergency exit if and when it stops mid way.

Is there some reason why they can't have emergency exits?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hyperloop always reminds me of Alix Cord in Genisis II, a sci-fi movie from 1973. It had the hyperloop going through the earth not above ground but essentially the same idea, high speed achieved through a tube: http://tinyurl.com/zyatdaq """A scientist who has been preserved in suspended animation wakes up to find himself in a primitive society in the future."""

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Hyperloop looks a bit like Sydney monorail. Except that SM had a maximum speed of about 20km/h over the 4km long sydney loop.

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The companies are sucking in large amounts of money and producing very little, sounds like a scam, if it sounds too good to be true; it is". They are following in Musks footsteps in one particular, massively over promise and massively under deliver because real world engineering and development just takes time!

Quite where are countries going to put these? May be the USA or Russia could bulldoze it through, and they have plenty of space but a lot of countries are more crowded, under ground would work but the costs would soar. I think there are so many real world problems with bringing this to fruition on any meaningful scale that claims it will revolutionise transport are and will remain hyperbole.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The shinkansen (bullet train) has spaces of an hour when it doesn't stop. They've come up with a pretty innovative solution to the problem - they put toilets on the train. I don't see why they couldn't do that with the hyperloop.

At this stage, piss-breaks are marginally more important than what colour the seat covers should be.

Would I be overestimating their progress if I said they've barely even reached the point of creating the technology yet? I suspect I would.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Actually it pretty important since their design cannot facilitate any stops in case of an emergency in which if one stop the whole line stops with no way out for the ones trapped behind the one that actually had the problem.

To remove the one that got stuck they will have to cut open the tube and physically remove the one that got stuck, patch the whole system again while everyone else remaining within the tube have to wait till they patch it up, create a vacuum within the tube again to restart the system which will probably take days if not weeks.

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Actually it pretty important since their design cannot facilitate any stops in case of an emergency in which if one stop the whole line stops with no way out for the ones trapped behind the one that actually had the problem.

How is this different from any train?

To remove the one that got stuck they will have to cut open the tube and physically remove the one that got stuck

Oh I imagine there are dozens of other ways to deal with the situation. Rails on the bottom of the tube are one that comes to mind off the top of my head. Some sort of wheels built into the train itself that are extendable if/when needed is another.

You sure seem determined to find reasons why this won't work, whereas people with creativity and drive can find all sorts of ways to deal with the potential issues you come up with. Is there some reason you are so negative about the idea?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is there some reason you are so negative about the idea?

Not addressed to me, but I'll take that question.

The idea is fine. So is the idea of cold fusion, a perpetual motion machine, space elevators, and a whole bunch of other excellent concepts that don't physically exist yet.

HyperLoop isn't being sold as a mere idea, but one thing's certain today, and will very likely still be the case in 2020: it is not a working technology. For a transportation system to be widely adopted it has to meet a whole bunch of requirements, any one of which can sink it.

That's what happened to supersonic jet travel - which is a workable technology. The technology works, planes were built, they flew actual routes, they carried passengers, but they remained too costly in the face of jumbo jets for mass adoption, so very few aircraft were sold - and then only to the two airlines associated with Concorde's development. It was stuck for 30 years as a high-end form of transportation for the wealthy. People weren't to know this back in the 1960s of course.

There are countless examples of one or other "transport of the future" failing, and part of the reason, even without factoring cost into it, is that transportation is a social as well as a technological enterprise. The shinkansen and TGV were running for decades before other countries started using the technology. Maglev exists - has existed for a long time - but is still, except for one showpiece passenger line, in the future, and faces considerable challenges.

What's wrong with HyperLoop is the hyperbolic claims that are being spewed at us from the people involved with it, when it's still on the drawing board. We don't really need to know at this stage the ultralow cost of a ticket from Stockholm to Helsinki. And we should be suspicous of people who are saying that a basically nonexistent transportation system is going to be in operation (in any form) in 4 years from now, and will overwhelmingly beat every other mode of transport on speed, while being built more quickly than other systems, and being cheaper for passengers. This is closer to fraud than creative thinking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fair enough - it does seem pretty unrealistic that it will be done by 2020. And the costs may very well be unreasonable.

But neither of those were what the poster I was addressing was talking about. (S)he is being negative about the concept altogether, and as you said:

The idea is fine.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, I said the idea is fine in the sense that anyone can dream up hugely ambitious ideas. Science fiction writers do it all the time, because they have the luxury of only having to describe them, and a need to make their work interesting or though provoking for readers.

In the real world, reality obtrudes, and something as mundane as cost or energy consumption can be sufficient to make an otherwise good technology wholly impractical. At the moment, HyperLoop is delivering hyperbole rather than technology. We shouldn't be swallowing it whole.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who is swallowing it whole?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who is swallowing it whole?

I dunno. I don't care. I said we shouldn't be swallowing it whole, but I'm sort of bored now by the direction this is going.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok I thought you were speaking of someone specific in this thread. But I see you were just voicing annoyance at the existence of the article and the claims it's making.

Personally I like the article as it's forward thinking about where our species will likely go. The timeline seems pretty unrealistic, but I can overlook that myself. I understand that others can't though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok I thought you were speaking of someone specific in this thread. But I see you were just voicing annoyance at the existence of the article and the claims it's making.

I don't think the article is making claims as such. But it is passing them along, without question or analysis, when it could have used the space to inform and to give a better idea of the actual stage of development. After all, it did tell us that the developers say it will be operational by 2020, which is a ludicrously short time frame for such an ambitious project entirely based on new technology.

And when they do this it tends to feed into the Elon Musk personality cult: even if he isn't directly involved in the Hyperloop project on a day to day basis, there's his name in the story, and a day or two later, I see more news articles (BBC this time) saying that Musk plans to have a manned Mars mission leaving in six years' time: yet another hyperbolic, wildly ambitious statement that we can safely assume is not going to be matched actual events.

Some of what he does is admirable, and it's good to see someone who has made a mountain of wealth using it in ways that may change history. At the same time, the wilder talk - and there's plenty of that - does deserve to be slapped down for the nonsense that it is. And it would be healthy to view Musk himself, like any cultish figure, with a degree of suspicion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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