If Elon Musk gets his way, commuting Californians will be able to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco (and vice versa) in about 30 minutes. Currently, travel between the two cities takes about one hour by plane or six hours by car.
For those who haven't been following Musk for the past year, the billionaire tech entrepreneur has been making waves with talk of the "Hyperloop," some sort of people-moving tube that Musk has claimed would be solar-powered, never crash and be twice as fast as a plane.
Musk is set to unveil the first set of Hyperloop designs by Aug. 12, he said in a tweet on Monday. He also revealed that the Hyperloop design would be open source (as he "hates" patents unless they're critical to a company's survival) and that he was open to working with business partners to construct the Hyperloop -- provided they share his philosophy on "breakthrough tech done fast" and don't like wasting money on "BS."
As one would expect, Musk was flooded with dozens of excited Twitter replies about the Hyperloop. Some also made guesses about the technology behind it. He replied to Twitter user @John_Gardi because his guess was "the closest" he'd ever seen so far. Here's what it looks like:
— Tinker (@John_Gardi) July 15, 2013
Business Insider also did a little digging of their own and came up with a Rand Corporation research paper from 1972 that seemed to dovetail with Musk's concept for the Hyperloop. Written by R.M. Salter, the paper proposed vacuum sealed tubes that carried and propelled electromagnetically levitated cars. More from Business Insider:
Salter explained how it could work by saying, "The VHST's 'tubecraft' ride on, and are driven by, electromagnetic waves much as a surfboard rides the ocean's wave. The EM waves are generated by pulsed, or by oscillating, currents in electrical conductors that form the roadbed structure in the evacuated tube way. Opposing magnetic fields in the vehicle are generated means of a loop superconducting cable carrying on the order of a million amperes of current."
Of course, California already has a north-to-south mass transit project in the works. The first section of the state's high-speed rail project will begin construction in either late August or early September and will run from Madera to Fresno in California's Central Valley. Construction from San Francisco to Los Angeles is expected to be completed by 2029, and the trip is projected to be under three hours long.
A rep for the California High-Speed Rail Authority told The Huffington Post that they are aware that people are talking about Musk's Hyperloop design, but they have no comment on it at this time.
Transit is an issue close to Musk's heart. Besides founding space tech company SpaceX and electric car company Tesla, he's also gone on the record about his willingness to pay whatever it takes to ease traffic congestion on LA's notorious 405 freeway. Musk, who lives in Bel-Air and commutes to Hawthorne, told the Los Angeles Times in April that traffic was so bad, he didn't understand why Angelenos weren't marching in the streets over it.