All posts in “hyperloop”

SpaceX hyperloop competition reaches record-breaking speeds

Hyperloop technology just broke another record.

SpaceX hosted its third Hyperloop Pod Competition on Sunday, and the fastest looping team broke the 240 mph world record set by Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One last year.

The winning team — a group of students from the Technical University of Munich — got its pod to travel at 284 mph.

“We’re excited to announce that our team WARR Hyperloop is the winner of the 2018 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition!!!!!” the team wrote on its website after the competition. “We’d like to sincerely thank all our sponsors! This journey wouldn’t have been possible without you!”

The team said its pod travelled almost 50 percent faster than last year, and its model went more than three times faster than the second place team this year.

Elon Musk, the hyperloop tsar himself, even reportedly attended the competition held at SpaceX’s 0.8-mile test track in Hawthorne, Calif. (a Los Angeles suburb) with his five children and Canadian musician Grimes, his current girlfriend.

Although his presence was not expected, it’s not surprising that he would attend.

This all fits his self-proclaimed useful narcissism brand very well, since the competition (which stems from his 2013 white paper on this new form of transportation) celebrates Musk while still working to help decrease long distance travel times.

His goal was to make the travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles a measly 30 minutes — it currently takes about 90 minutes by plane, and this new hyperloop record would make the commute just over 80 minutes.

The hyperloop pods must travel at more than 750 mph to achieve Musk’s half hour California dream, which as of right now probably remains many pod generations away. So while we’re about 480 mph off, students are leading with speed to reach that goal.

Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2018%2f3%2f0640eaec ed05 30a1%2fthumb%2f00001

Elon Musk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hold ‘Loop’ press conference to shut down the haters

Bye haters - Elon Musk and Rahm Emanuel are a match made in transportation heaven.
Bye haters – Elon Musk and Rahm Emanuel are a match made in transportation heaven.

Image: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Haters gonna hate, but that’s not stopping Elon Musk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel from pushing forward on a potentially game-changing new high-speed rail project.

Musk and Mayor Emanuel held a press conference on Thursday to announce The Boring Company’s winning bid for an underground high-speed rail between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.

“This is the fastlane to Chicago’s future,” Mayor Emanuel said.

The line will be called “The Chicago Express Loop,” also known as The X. Pods made by Tesla will travel between 125 – 150 mph, transporting travelers the approximately 16 miles between Block 37 in downtown Chicago to the airport in about 12 minutes. It’s not Hyperloop, but it’s fast — about four times faster than existing public transportation, at least.

The city and the Boring Company actually announced the partnership early Thursday morning. The role of the press conference, it seemed, was to communicate — and sell — Mayor Emanuel and Elon Musk’s dual vision for the future.

“If you want to have for your city a 21st century economy, you must have a 21st century transportation foundation,” Mayor Emanuel said. 

“We think that with the loop system, which will ultimately transition to the hyperloop system, there’s the potential here for a revolutionary transport system,” Musk said.

The press conference largely centered around how the project will impact Chicago. But Musk and Mayor Emanuel also took pains to address the “doubters” in the room. They both put forth the sentiment that revolutionary projects — which is the way that they see the Loop — always prompt naysayers. But that history tends to prove them wrong.

“It’s easy to be a critic or a cynic,” Mayor Emanuel said. “There are doubters along the way all the time who sit on the sidelines. And then when the thing gets built, and the economic growth comes, they’re nowhere to be found.”

Musk, who has had an embattled relationship with his critics in the press as of late, said “There is a role for doubters. People should question things.”

But he aimed to reassure those “doubters” with his track record of successful innovations with SpaceX and Tesla (which Mayor Emanuel also touted as he expressed his faith in Musk and the project).

“I’ve done a few things in my past that were pretty tricky,” Musk said.

That’s one thing you can say for Elon Musk: he’s definitely not afraid of a challenge.

Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2017%2f5%2fdaec53c7 38b0 bbc5%2fthumb%2f00001

Twitter is trolling Elon Musk for thinking he invented the subway

Musk, supes casual, describing his invention.
Musk, supes casual, describing his invention.

Image: The Boring company

Ahh, tech industry hubris. It never ceases to inspire.

On Thursday, Elon Musk held an information session to discuss the progress of his Boring Company, and share his vision for the future of transportation in Los Angeles. What that amounts to is … wait for it …. a series of tunnels! That pedestrians can access through a magnitude of street-level stations, no larger than — hang on — a parking spot!

Sound familiar? The good citizens of Twitter thought so.

Musk’s proposed solution to Los Angeles traffic is basically a high-speed subway system. He recently completed 2.7 miles of track for a proof of concept. And on Thursday, he got approval from the city of Los Angeles to run tests. If expanded, Musk said that his transportation tunnels would use individual cars that travel at 150 mph, and provide rides at just $1 a pop. 

Those high speeds and low costs would certainly be an improvement on the current state of mass transit in the US, and in Los Angeles. But the underlying concept is not exactly revelatory. 

The wonder with which Musk announced these visionary plans is what really got Twitter all riled up. Twitter users criticized him for not realizing that he was basically describing a subway, but also for the all-too-common tech industry attitude his plans represent: that he, a tech businessman, is fit to ~revolutionize~ transportation. Not urban planners, not community members, certainly not public transit experts. But Musk.

Los Angeles actually is in the midst of expanding its subway and light rail system, and has made considerable progress. But the decades-long project has faced budgetary stall after community opposition after roadblock. Which is why some Angelenos were taken aback when the city allowed Musk to drill, baby, drill without so much as an environmental impact study

This is also far from the first time a tech company has announced a new product or service like it was The Second Coming, only to have the internet point out (in hilarious and glorious fashion) that what they’d invented was something extremely basic that already exists. 

Take, for example, a startup that “let neighbors pool their money to invest in their communities.” The internet helpfully noted that they’d invented taxes. Or the much-maligned Bodega bros, who created…. a vending machine.

And, of course, who can forget the advent of the Lyft shuttle, Uber Express Pool, and Chariot — inventors of the bus.

But hey, if Musk’s charm and vision can cut through the bureaucracy that’s kept Los Angeles gridlocked for decades, that’s awesome. Let’s just maybe do it with a *bit* of perspective, and an ego check.

You’re right, that’s asking too much.

[embedded content]

Elon Musk’s ultra-high-speed hyperloop will cost just $1 to ride

Elon Musk is sick of Los Angeles traffic.

The Boring Company, Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he was late to his own tunnel company’s information session at a synagogue in Los Angeles on Thursday night because of traffic on a major freeway. He called the congested highway “the seventh or eighth level” of hell.

To tackle “soul-destroying traffic” plaguing most major U.S. cities, Musk said, “There’s a few ways to skin this cat.” Instead of building more roads and highways or heading into the sky, as Uber envisions with its flying cars, Musk wants to go below ground — like 30 to 100 feet below ground — with an autonomous highway-like high-speed tunnel hyperloop system.

Best bit? Musk says city hyperloop trips will only cost $1.

The Boring Company has been working on test tunnels in LA, and at the info session Musk laid out what this will look like. It’s not certain exactly when this is happening, but Musk likes things to come together quickly. State, city, and county officials not so much. LA city officials recently gave the OK for 2.7 miles of test track, which Musk revealed in a video last week. Just before Thursday’s info session Musk said the LA Metro system had agreed to work with the tunnel company.

Musk laid out what would eventually be miles of underground track all over LA with small mini stations, approximately the size of a parking spot, that take passengers from street level to the underground tunnel system in high-speed pods. He promised eight-minute trips from downtown LA to the airport and Dodger Stadium — all for $1 a trip.

Musk talks about tunnels and high-speed travel with The Boring Company's mascot, Gary the snail.

Musk talks about tunnels and high-speed travel with The Boring Company’s mascot, Gary the snail.

Musk also highlighted a vast system of small stations that would take about 16 passengers at a time, a weatherproof system (it’s all the same this far down), and minimal impact on neighborhoods and communities since no divisive highways or roads will pave over areas.

“For tunnels you can have hundreds of lanes, there’s no real limit,” he said. The tunnel system could also continue deeper and deeper with more demand. Here, Musk made sure to include a dig directed at UberAir, the ambitious electric passenger drone system dreamed up by the ride-hailing app. Uber plans to demo flights in LA by 2020. 

“You can’t fly the quietest helicopters through neighborhoods without bothering people,” Musk said. He promised that all the digging and boring required to build the hyperloop will go undetected because it’s so far down. 

“It’s quite difficult to detect when a tunnel is being dug,” he said. “We’re invisible.”

The LAX hyperloop station will be bigger than the stations all over the city.

The LAX hyperloop station will be bigger than the stations all over the city.

Image: the boring company

Eventually Musk wants the hyperloop to connect cities — San Francisco to LA, New York to Baltimore — and for those trips he’s tapping into his SpaceX rocket techniques to build vacuum tunnels that go 300 mph. 

For more urban experiences, for example, commutes throughout LA, Musk envisions 150 mph trips. And yes, it’ll apparently only cost you that dollar.

Musk spent a hefty portion of the info session explaining the boring process itself using electric motors and battery packs, and what he plans to do with the massive amounts of dirt, including building seismically sound bricks and life-size Lego kits.

For all those patiently waiting for your “not-flamethrowers” from the Boring Company — Musk said the company would start personally delivering the highly flammable devices in two weeks. 

With Musk everything’s at hyper-speed.

Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2018%2f3%2f0640eaec ed05 30a1%2fthumb%2f00001

Watch SpaceX launch NASA’s latest exoplanet-hunting satellite

SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket today during a 30 second window at 6:32pm EDT. Onboard is NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) designed to find exoplanets. SpaceX said this morning there’s an 80 percent chance of launching today. Following the launch, SpaceX will attempt to recover the Falcon 9 rocket and nose cone by landing the rocket on a drone ship and using parachutes to slow down fairings before they hit Atlantic. SpaceX’s high-speed net boat Mr. Stevens is still in the Pacific.

[embedded content]

The livestream is set to begin at 6:00pm EDT.

The satellite onboard uses four cameras to hunt for exoplanets around stars. They measure tiny dips in a star’s brightness that could indicate a planetary body passing in front of the camera’s line of sight. This is called a transit. Mission officials have said that this satellite will likely find thousands of worlds during its two-year mission.

The Falcon 9 used in today’s mission has never been launched before though if it lands successfully, it will be reportedly used in a future mission. This rocket is also the final block 4 version before Tesla starts using block 5 versions with upgraded engines and improvements to increase the reusability of the rocket.