The world just got its first look at the Hyperloop. The would-be future of the upcoming high-speed rail and brainchild of Tesla CEO Elon Musk got off to a relatively humble start this morning, slingshotting down 100 meters of track in a patch of Nevada desert for a few seconds before slamming on the brakes.
The resulting whirlwind was a little alarming, but it was supposed to do that. After all, it was traveling 300 miles per hour. The prototype accelerated from zero to 100 in about 1.1 seconds, according to the Verge, and generated about 2.4 Gs.
The video doesn’t look like a whole lot—something like the world’s least inventive roller coaster, with the most abrupt finish. But the point is, it worked.
Here it is again in slow motion. Because if this isn't the time to use your slo-mo setting, what in the world is?
Although we refer to it as rail travel (and in this case it technically was), an actual, finished Hyperloop would fire pressurized capsules like this one down an enclosed tube, kept in a state of extremely low pressure (though not quite a vacuum or near vacuum). In that almost friction-free environment, Musk promises that the proposed San Francisco to Los Angeles loop could complete a trip in half an hour.
Imagine being in LA in less time than it takes the 38 Geary to get you to the Legion of Honor most days. Astounding.
Pods would ferry 28 people at a time and fire them off every 30 seconds, essentially pelting the two cities' populations at each other, albeit via what’s advertised to be a smooth and comfortable ride.
That is, if anyone can build a working system, and find the $6 billion the SF to LA run is estimated at. Note that none of Musk’s companies are behind this test, or any Hyperloop at all right now. Rather than develop it himself, he gave the plans away for free to anyone interested. Today’s trial was completed by LA-based Hyperloop Technologies.