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Elon Musk's hyperloop could revolutionise public transport | The Economist

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Elon Musk's Hyperloop technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel. In a contest he held in Los Angeles, some of the world's brightest engineers gathered to find the best way to make this billionaire's pipe dream a reality. Click here to subscribe to The Economist on YouTube: http://econ.trib.al/rWl91R7 Elon Musk, the billionaire behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX, wants to revolutionise public transport. In 2017 he held an event at SpaceX's California headquarters showcasing the latest technology for what he believes is the future of intercity travel. An entirely new transport system, called Hyperloop. "What this is all about is advancing the state of transportation; trying new things that have never been done before that can make an incredible difference to peoples lives." But is Hyperloop ready to usher in a new age of mass transit or is it just a billionaire's pipe dream? In 1829 a competition was held to find the best locomotive engine for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, in northern England. George Stephenson's Rocket won first prize, posting a top speed of 38km per hour. Widely credited as the world's first steam locomotive the Rocket transformed how people travelled between cities. Almost two centuries on, Musk is hosting the modern-day equivalent of that competition and teams of engineers from around the world have come to Los Angeles to compete, head-to-head. The aim is to bring Hyperloop one step closer to reality. But what exactly is Hyperloop? Daily Watch: mind-stretching short films throughout the working week. For more from Economist Films visit: http://films.economist.com/ Check out The Economist’s full video catalogue: http://econ.st/20IehQk Like The Economist on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheEconomist/ Follow The Economist on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theeconomist Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theeconomist/ Follow us on LINE: http://econ.st/1WXkOo6 Follow us on Medium: https://medium.com/@the_economist
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Text Comments (611)
fortnitecringe (4 days ago)
the bullet train can go faster
Angelo (13 days ago)
In a Capitalist World like we life in right now things like that dont get any real or big support and will never find there way in the future because they are still making money with Cars which are poluting our Earth! But we should Stop Capitalism and give real suport and effort in Projects like this! But there are so many other options how we can do things!
Claude LeBel (15 days ago)
The 'Rocket' at 20mph :)
Allin7days (15 days ago)
This is at least 100 years old idea, and 10's of con artists tried to fool you along the way. We now have a new name, eLON mUSK, the know it all. Do you really think we can build and maintain 100's miles of vacuum pipe in public space? I wonder what security checks will look like just to get on it.
Dagmar Cekanova (1 month ago)
Very expansive system not protecting nature And Planet. Is there better and cheaper Skyway system ......https://youtu.be/2yAuO2sjyEU
Barck채원이 (1 month ago)
애기들 기차 장난감 있지요?? 그 장난감 기차 레일을 자기장 루프 돔으로 만들면 레일이 필요 없어도 되지 않을까요?? 지하에 하이퍼루프를 만드시려면 그렇게 하시고,지상에 만드시려면 자기장 루프 돔에 루프 돔 외곽은 반도체 하이퍼루프로 만들어 내시면 여러모로 좋을 듯 합니다. 따로 조명 등 설치 안 해도 되고요. 하이퍼 루프 외곽의 자체 반도체 조명으로 될수 있게 말씀 입니다. 그럼. 모형으로 먼저 만들어 실험 해 본후에. 그럼.
The MN railfan 1003 (1 month ago)
This project is a disgrace to railfans across the world
Upsilon TwentyThirteen (1 month ago)
You guys need to see Thunderf00t's videos about this nonsense https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ezF7NmwQZs
Rock Sena (1 month ago)
Nice title
Did this bro just invent the fucking subway?
hotneo7 (1 month ago)
But will you throw up?
necksugar (2 months ago)
These tunnels are on the America 2050 map . People are being burned off their land to create them.
Anonymous User (2 months ago)
if it operates in a vacuum then it doesn't matter what the shape of the vehicle is. why do they have to make them look like tampons?
partial vacuum
Marto Juan (2 months ago)
When nuclear fusion will be come a reality....the hyperlopp will cut a lot of costs in power and become a reality
michel Guevara (2 months ago)
Hyperbole fraud..
swaghauler (3 months ago)
Musk needs to abandon the Hyperloop and focus on a high-speed Maglev train. This level of technology is achievable with our current engineering tech. Put that Maglev train inside a plexiglass tube (to isolate it from things like wildlife and weather) and let it rip along at 300 mph. Put solar in the roof of the tube and run major electric conduits under it (so the train can "surf" using commercial electric, the remainder of which would then be delivered to customers) to provide the power needed. You could even put a series of wind turbines in the train to generate added power at speed. If you put this over the middle of the Interstate system, you wouldn't even need to worry about buying land. The tube would even isolate the public from the noise of a 300mph Maglev train. This has to be at least as cost-effective as the Hyperloop would be.
Marc Richard (3 months ago)
The realTony Stark... Lol
Chrispus Baganda (3 months ago)
Instead of building weapons, let the government invest in Musk
SamLazer (3 months ago)
Doesn't anyone have at least good argument against this? Our progress has just begun and we are nowhere near the limits of advancing technology. What would you rather do? Live with no progress and stay doing nothing or actually chase dreams and suprass the current limitations. Life is quite boring if you don't take any risks.
Jafar (3 months ago)
lmao imagine accidentally catching the wrong hyperloop train, I could accidentally land in another country in 30 minutes
Mateo San (3 months ago)
Hello this is my comment criticizing the hyperloop, it makes me feel supersmart so please bear with me while I lengthly discuss my very little knowledge on the matter. I'm an engineer and although my field is unrelated I will tell you all the reasons why it can't be done. All these engineers working on it are my inferiors, and I can tell you they would be knocked unconscious by just being in the presence of my superior intellect. No I haven't worked hands on on anything even remotely like the hyperloop, but I can asure my mind is basically like CAD software and I can foresee all the reasons it's not possible by just closing my eyes. Hah, proposing something like "the hyperloop", Elon Musk is a tool and if I wanted to I would design better rockets than him. It's just that I rather do lengthy comments on Youtube. Anyway see you later losers.
kristine chaffey (3 months ago)
Don't Build Until Next Year. I Have Some Safety Mechanisms I Want You To Have. Funding On The Way. Start Digging.
kristine chaffey (3 months ago)
Traction Control.
kristine chaffey (3 months ago)
Need Wheels For Safety And Turning Control.
kristine chaffey (3 months ago)
Diagonals Might Work Too.
kristine chaffey (3 months ago)
Makes The Lights Horizontal To Counter Motion Sickness.
kristine chaffey (3 months ago)
Account For Weight Of Load With Tripod Hydraulic Springs.
Fran Leavens (3 months ago)
At least someone is out there ,trying to improve the lives of everyone on Earth! Mostly funded with his own money! Thank You Elon Musk
S J prakash (4 months ago)
You said like there is no more progress made in this. Virgin Hyperloop and Hyperloop transportation industries are really close to finishing, at least as of what they say.
amit krishnani (4 months ago)
First bullet train should be exploited completely, on green energy
Kishore Singh (4 months ago)
This man is a genius!
Darcer's Tech (4 months ago)
Have heard this sort of skepticism about Tesla and SpaceX. I think I trust the guy now though.
Gary Millsaps (4 months ago)
VITKO MUSIC (4 months ago)
I was excited about elon musk before. Realised he is backed by American government.. American made Gagarin.
cashprinter5000 (4 months ago)
How do you brake it and how do you deal with pod traffic?
Mark Plott (3 months ago)
no Brakes needed , constant speed and separation of 10 - 15 Minutes between cars. Digital POD management. think MAG-LEV + Vacuume Tube.
johan (5 months ago)
this could also mean that people in rural areas would move to cities 😛
D B (5 months ago)
Can someone just say the obvious, who the hell wants to fly down the inside of a giant tube, underground or above ground? I was stuck overnight on the highway for 14 hours and could see my apartment but was trapped because of the winding highway covered in ice. Imagine being trapped in a giant tube somewhere along the desert without being able to see anything at all or even consider being able to escape. I’ll take the regular slow train any day. Some people actually like being able to watch everything pass. These wealthy are out of touch, they always want some goofy jetsons creation. Please build something the masses actually want and need.
Quidz (3 months ago)
D B are you being fucking stupid on purpose or ?
mokshaw (5 months ago)
when is this coming to Texas we need help
johnny llooddte (6 months ago)
hyperloop explained 1960 ahahahah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiadqeMSzak
Mikey Ikey (6 months ago)
nothing is being built and there is less and less on the internet .typical realy.Anything good and it's does not get built
JONOVID (6 months ago)
its misleading to say hyperloop is the future. its just an engineers toy at this time. its just concept. like the space elevator.
Kevin R (6 months ago)
Put a monkey in the vehicle and launch it into pipe dream space.
Joshua Anderson (6 months ago)
Thing about that...
Richard Chen (6 months ago)
https://youtu.be/lWo6LscqSGg?t=150 600 km per hour? That's BS. @TheEconomist get your fact straight! The fastest train in the world is about 400 km/h (http://fortune.com/2017/08/21/china-world-fastest-train/). I knew it because I was in it once .
Just Jared (7 months ago)
We are all going to die because of this man.
Adam Beaumont (7 months ago)
Sailtier soup. (7 months ago)
If it's unsafe for humans then it could be used to tranport goods instead.
AK 4o (7 months ago)
How can you not be behind Musk and his visions?
Alto's Music Lab (7 months ago)
we should build 90 foot tall statues of Elon in every city! :)
mp3lwgm (7 months ago)
If you want to change the world, study Physics. It is the greatest truth.
Sunil Baral (7 months ago)
Try to prevent it from accident due to high speed as inertia can kill all of us
萬家興 (7 months ago)
powerloop 超能利·勁油力 http://168ehouse.com/?S=vsywop
Jan Olsen (7 months ago)
No way somebody will make me be a living bullet! This is too much future, this will be for business and other elite!
EatOrLumby (7 months ago)
This really isn’t super complicated
Janaka Goonasekera (7 months ago)
Mass Transit systems are like Trains and Subways have long platforms and a large number of doors that allow thousands of people to be loaded and unloaded in seconds. How is this possible if you need to seal an air lock and then evacuate/pressurize it at each station. Can you build an air lock that is as long as a train station platform? The infrastructure at each station seems huge - airlocks, pumps - compared to a train station, which is just a platform and some bathrooms. Traveling at that speed at ground level, means that the entire length of the track needs to be secured against sabotage and terrorism ( vs airlines, which only need to secure the airport). Also the security at the station needs to be comparable to that of an airport, since any explosion means certain death to everybody traveling on the train ( and potentially anybody in other trains in the tube because the tube will experience sudden pressurization ) Could somebody from the Hyperloop project answer, if possible. I'm wondering how this can be a practical mass transit system. It may be a successful prestige project in a few cities.
Mark Plott (3 months ago)
Hyperloop PODS hold a Dozen people or a little more. no Infill stations One Station at Either End. A true express system with no stops in between. Direct LA to SF for example. MUSK is also building the NON-pressurized LOOP transport , Chicago to Airport and Dodger Stadium - LA. All Electric skates will transport 12 people or more at 200 Mph.
TK-420 (7 months ago)
And why do you think we Americans keep hearing booms around the clock all the time
TK-420 (7 months ago)
Lol we had this technology for a long time
Guens (7 months ago)
The media! Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX were Elon's pipe dreams. Haters always hate.
Claudia Aquino (7 months ago)
He is the future ❤️
Kevin Green (8 months ago)
the narrator's voice is kinda disturbing
Virmana (8 months ago)
if it sounds so easy, why hasn't it been done already? trains are so loud and primitive.
Moklis Tamimi (8 months ago)
Tiago Martins Lacerda (8 months ago)
This competition is a win-win even when the final goal is not reached.
Pikudo Pikao (8 months ago)
Hyperloop is the biggest evidence of human ingenuity. The biggest scam ever made.
W. (8 months ago)
"an entirely new transport system"..... Poor research
César De la Hoz (8 months ago)
That's why we need more stem in our society. I'm amazed to hear some people believe this is impossible. This anything but impossible; the same as electric cars and other types of electric powered transport systems.
ZEMTEK (8 months ago)
1:58 air wont work. Once you introduce air you lose the vacuum and create friction. Magnets are the only way this will work to levitate a high speed rail system.
XAndroid1 (8 months ago)
Hyperloop won’t work. Period
Marco Martinelli (8 months ago)
4:16 arduino?
Sepemini (8 months ago)
It's called a subway, we already have them. I don't want the government funding any more of his "brilliant" ideas.
globetrotter1121 (8 months ago)
hyperloop won't work and be seriously dangerous if vacuum seal in tube is broken
AdamWho (8 months ago)
Why are people continuing to get duped by this?
elon is human s treasure, please carefully protect him like present
Tasneem Ahmed (9 months ago)
keep it up. Go ahead
qmsi lainata (9 months ago)
SkyWay is way better
AriVovp (9 months ago)
I want to do it too, but the game plan today seems to favor big names.
Rory M. (9 months ago)
Why not bring the bullet train from Japan
Paul James (9 months ago)
Bullet trains take a LOT more energy at 300 mph.
Adam S (10 months ago)
aaa bbb (10 months ago)
come true quickly please!!!
Dr. Harpreet Singh (10 months ago)
THe most optimistic person.. who have potential to complete his dream for a wonderful world!! hats off.. ELON sir..! truly a epitome for everyone.
Corrine Tsang (10 months ago)
Jiaolong University of Chengdu with unlimited government funding (20 billion dollars) has built a small magnetic levitation train in a frictionless hyperloop at 1,000 km/hr.CRCC will build a larger magnetic levitation train using a hyperloop for city to city travel at the designed speed of 2,500 km/hr.China has two new magnetic levitation line,one in Changsha,the S1 red line in Beijing and 10 more being built in Wuhan,,Tianjin,Hangzhou,Quindoa,Xian,,Dalian,Shenzhen,Guangzhou,Urumqi and Chongqing.
meh (10 months ago)
I love seeing butthurt Musk fanboys living in their fantasy world where critics are just negative haters. This is a retarded idea, I'm going to put it out there that practical and economic concerns will prohibit this from ever being viable. If you want better long-distance public transit, build out your fucking high-speed rail network and improve its interconnectivity with aviation. Just because America fails so comically hard at getting any real HSR off the ground does not make this a good idea. When we have flying cars, that'll be a revolution in transportation. Until then, trains will continue to get incrementally faster, but not in a vacuum tube.
Boss Okanagan (10 months ago)
The kool-aid drinkers will always cry foul - but this will never go anywhere. It's either a ripoff of maglev tech that's been around for decades, or a vacuum tube that is scientifically impossible. Don't believe the hype of our modern-day Howard Hughes.
levi ackerman (11 months ago)
People say that this isn't possible, landing a rocket didn't seem possible, and in 5 years Elon musk has accomplished that, this will happen
Shannon Baron (11 months ago)
This is all a front. So the space guy now needs to dig? This is clearly a show to misdirect you from the fact they need these boring machines in bulk to avoid the 2020 thing. I only started studying in Nov 2017 so I will figure it out with a little time and capital.
Jonathan Martin (11 months ago)
What did they say about the automotive, airplanes, space travel and so many other great engineering projects? It could not be done, too expensive, too dangerous, too difficult... Putting a person on the moon in 1969 was vastly more complex than this and people think this can't be done in 2018? Give me a break... A lack of funding is the biggest obstacle for any project, including this.
noctusowl (3 months ago)
They all were and still are very expensive. Might blow your mind but most people in the world do now own a car. Much fewer actually fly and investment in space projects dropped substantially since the end of the Cold War every year and most projects have been postponed or abandoned. Because many of us benefited from it does not invalidate the criticism those technologies received because for most humans those technologies are not in reach.
Shadowriver (4 months ago)
Hyperloop concept is old, Musk practically only named it and made concept more known, it essentially Maglev train in the low pressure tube, Maglev train is not new there already commercial lines..... but on entire world you can count those lines on your finger, because it's hell lot of expensive and doing this in tube and maintaining all the challenges of that is even more expensive. So who even tell you that we gonna have Hyperloop in few years and it gonna revolutionize transport he is BSing you, Maglev is here and it didn't kill long distance trains.
jan klubíčko (11 months ago)
hiperlop is perhaps a good idea but first of all it seems to me a complicated but it is just because I did not understand the principle that the principle is a combination of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coilgun this https://cs.wikipedia.org / wiki / Aero trainer and vacuum vacuum is not air resistance (probably) but if there is no air resistance in the vacuum as it is possible that something is working on the principle of a jet engine but why it has either the whole path or only when starting the engine maglev train https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev. please explain to a person who does not have such good technical knowledge.
samiamten (4 months ago)
ouch, you lost me at hiperlop. but at least you threw in a wikipedia reference for good measure! : )
jan klubíčko (11 months ago)
hiperlop je možná dobrý nápad ale zaprvé mě připadá kapánek složitý ale to je jen proto že jsem ten princip nějak nepochopil vým že princip je kombinace https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coilgun tohoto https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aérotrain a vým že ve vakuu není odpor vzduch (teda asi ) no ale pokud není ve vakuu odpor vzduchu jak je možné že tam funguje cosi na principu proudového leteckého motoru ale proč to má buď pod celou dráhou nebo jenom při startu prynci z maglev train https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev . prosím vysvětlení pro člověka který nemá až tak dobré technické znalosti.
Lil Shranos (1 year ago)
1:28 “Los Angeleez” :)))))
Johnny Jackson (1 year ago)
I got a man crush on Elon
mikebtko (1 year ago)
It's Machiavellian, building all these headquarters, these compounds, where they're deemed 'our super intelligent people', working on creating future societies in places like Mars or creating 'super-intelligent computers' we can stare at all day instead of witnessing life transform outside these compounds where the 'super-intelligent', work, play and live. When we know damn well these 'super-intelligent people' never even made it to the moon. NASA, Space X, Virgin Galactic Space, yeah right, quit lying to our people. Grow up, they don't believe you anymore... Yes, creating our future..., just not right now, not for us. These places are in luxurious, high security, coastal communities, like California, in the West, where only employees and exclusivity exists. Get real... These are just more 'land grabs' from the greedy, usury tribe members, money funneling, figureheads, screwing over mankind.  An extension of Golf Resort Land grabs. Places like Hilton Head, where citizens can no longer see their beaches for miles. It's not translating into our West's relic transportation systems, Yes, the debauchery that is allowed to manifest itself onto our societies. And this top heavy medical establishment which means higher demand for disease and death. Instead of utilizing our populace to create cities to carry us into the future. And somewhat resemble what's going on in these elitists' compounds. Our Western societies, yes, where we are almost completely reliant on getting Western goods from China and East, crossing waters and having to deal with maritime law, etc. Cities are decaying across the Americas. The social engineers are doing this by design. What they're doing is processing the majority of citizenry out of here like ground beef. Rendering us useless in their Mammon Society, based on usury not merit. 1. https://youtu.be/YGGma7BBVQc 2. https://youtu.be/f9W4SMq2nSw 3. https://youtu.be/aSU0W3yiKC0 4. https://youtu.be/KRgZhYK-A_0
Bala Swamy (1 year ago)
Future generation vehicle
Smartphone Phone (1 year ago)
2:26 trains that do 600 km/h. Hyperloop is not going to be much faster, maybe 800 km/h
Paul James (1 year ago)
Perhaps but this will be MUCH more efficient to operate.
3D Surfacing (1 year ago)
Well it is obvious that it is more efficient and better.
Ghost Ghost (1 year ago)
Elon Musk, implement face recognition camera security to your hyperloop .
Sado Plays (1 year ago)
i believe in this project. even many people criticize and don't find it practical. It has so many challenges but that is what it takes new technologies to improve. everyone can make something easy. the important thing is to solve difficult problems and become an advanced civilization. i can't understand why people are so overreacting such a revolutionary project. if you don't find it legit then don't ride it when it is ready
Sado Plays (1 year ago)
i believe in this project. even many people criticize and don't find it practical. It has so many challenges but that is what it takes new technologies to improve. everyone can make something easy. the important thing is to solve difficult problems and become an advanced civilization. i can't understand why people are so overreacting such a revolutionary project. if you don't find it legit then don't ride it when it is ready...
j cloud (1 year ago)
Disney's monorail has been around since 1971. Unfortunately the only product of Nikola Tesla's used today is his name which like his inventions was stolen. Are these really "new" revelations or just a consolidation of ownership and expansion of capital control with a different face?
Brian Brewster (1 year ago)
200 mph - sounds fast. A long long way from 700 mph as promised by Elon Musk. But how much will this cost to build 1000 miles of tube? How about the energy consumption of evacuating the air from that much tube? How do you rescue anyone if the tube breaks somewhere in the middle? Am I missing the answers to these burning questions? We hear zero information about these technological issues - and that's what I, for one, want to hear what engineers are doing about these problems. But hey - I'd settle for 200 mph if there are no long lines and I want to travel a few hundred kms in one-third the time and at a reasonable price. Maybe man wasn't intended to travel much faster than that without being airborne.
Paul James (1 year ago)
Initially they will transport cargo VERY efficiently.
Eric Lancer (1 year ago)
Pipe dream...electric cars development and new road technology are here...it has potential for other usages.
Robert Xavier (1 year ago)
Logan's Run
Bill Conger (1 year ago)
Communist pipe dream literally lol. You climate change cultists are Never going to get people out of their cars.
Scott Cater (10 months ago)
you're a fucking moron.
Matthieu (1 year ago)
KAMOME (1 year ago)
I'm a big fan of Elon Musk but I guess this project is gonna be triky.
first Impression (1 year ago)
The future is (should be) a place where things are better than now not simply different...A better future would be one where we don´t have to go back and forward 40,50 miles everyday just to go to work...
LAD Teknologies (1 year ago)
This is just another Dutch pipe dream, does this guy not know that we have so many other important problems to solve first before we think about being launched through a tube? I am personally against this crackpot idea, let us start with better driver training and knowledge. If you drink alcohol once and are convicted there goes your license for a whole year, if you are caught driving with your suspension your license is terminated! Hasta la vista baby! You will not be back!

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