4 Things Elon Musk Hasn't Figured Out About The Hyperloop

Though Elon Musk
has released extensive informationabout the Hyperloop, his proposed rapid transportation system, he admits there’s a long way to go. It’s what he calls an “open source transportation concept,” one that he has to intention to build himself for now, and that needs plenty more work.

In the PDF where he outlines details of the proposal, he mentions four major things that need significant additional work to make the Hyperloop a reality.

  • More expansion on the control mechanism for Hyperloop capsules, including attitude thruster or control moment gyros.

The report mentions that “the capsule will bank off the walls and include a control system for smooth returns to nominal capsule location from banking as well.” Apparently Musk and his team haven’t figured out exactly how they would do this.

  • Detailed station designs with loading and unloading of both passenger and passenger plus vehicle versions of the Hyperloop capsules.

Musk expects the loading to be substantially quicker than say, a commercial airport. Considering that there’s an airlock involved, that luggage and passengers have to be swapped out, and that capsules would leave as often as every 30 seconds, designing the stations is going to be an incredibly complex job.

  • Trades comparing the costs and benefits of Hyperloop with more conventional magnetic levitation systems.

One of the principle selling points of the Hyperloop is that the proposed air cushion would be substantially cheaper than magnetic levitation, which has been used in high speed rail systems. That needs to be established in greater detail, and there may be other tradeoffs.

  • Sub-scale testing based on a further optimised design to demonstrate the physics of Hyperloop

They need to build a little one to demonstrate that the physics even work. He mentioned the possibility of building a prototype himself during a press conference, but would certainly appreciate some help.

Read more about the Hyperloop here

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