Elon Musk Wants to Transport Humans at 700 MPH Through Steel Vacuum Tubes

Could the Hyperloop change travel forever?

A Tesla Motors mockup of the Hyperloop.  (http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/hyperloop_alpha3.pdf)

A Tesla Motors mockup of the Hyperloop. (http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/hyperloop_alpha3.pdf)

Elon Musk is at it again. The Tesla and SpaceX founder now wants to transport people at 700 mph through steel vacuum tubes. Seriously. Maybe it’s the future of travel, maybe it’s a jet-powered potato gun.

If the Hyperloop actually works, it could transport someone from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes. (That’s a nearly six-hour drive or a one-hour-and-20-minute plane ride.) Check out detailed plans here.

The Wharton grad announced his interest in the Hyperloop back in 2013 — but this week, SpaceX said it’s building a one-mile test track in California. It also announced an open-source competition to figure out how to build the pods used for travel. (SpaceX doesn’t plan on building the real thing, just wants to help get the project rolling.)

Forbes has more:

SpaceX says it is not getting into the loop business, merely that “it is interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional hyperloop prototype,” says a spokesman. There are still scores of engineering and mechanical issues to resolve around safety mechanisms, costs, propulsion and suspension systems and manufacturing techniques. Teams are welcome to submit entire pod designs, individual subsystems or safety features. SpaceX says it will also likely build its own pod, which will not be eligible to win the competition. Criteria for winning the competition come out in August.

Business Insider spoke to one company in the market, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies:

“We are happy that Elon and SpaceX share our vision of using the power of the crowd and communities to help bring the Hyperloop to reality,” Dirk Ahlborn, the CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, told Business Insider.

“We believe this recent announcement will excite even more people about the project and amazing solutions will result for commercial integration. We will help support the competition in any way we can,” Ahlborn said.