The conceptual nature of the Hyperloop is both exciting and absolutely fascinating. Elon Musk, the man who heads Tesla Motors, Space-X, and helped co-found Solar-City and PayPal scribed the initial plan for the Hyperloop. Using air compressors the Hyperloop would convey people from city-to-city points at speeds as high as 760 miles per hour. For instance, a journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco would theoretically take 35 minutes. As someone who has driven extensively in Los Angeles, it would likely take me longer to commute to the Hyperloop terminal than the ride itself, which speaks volumes for the implications (and quite frankly LA traffic).
Such an invention could change the expensive real estate landscape in major cities. Workers in either city-pairs could commute on a daily basis and return home in time for dinner. There are many city-to-city points for which the Hyperloop could be effective, both here in the US and around the world. Globally the Hyperloop could impact people’s access to education, jobs, and a higher standard of living. The nature of interpersonal connections and business networks would be greatly impacted by limiting distance ever more, making a truly localized global economy. What seems like a revolution in transportation will also bring about evolutions in the real estate market, our local economies, business organizations, and transform our social networks.
Another unique aspect of the Hyperloop is that its design was open-sourced and released for comment without restriction; much in the same way Elon Musk released Tesla Motor’s patents for competitive value generation. We’ve all seen the tumultuous and costly patent battles amongst smartphone makers in the news – hopefully this open release strategy for the advancement of human endeavors will become more common place and create a collective network for idea incubation. Since these inventions advance the unchallenged and accepted modes of human transport it would seem about time we give it more thought and anticipate patents become less restrictive to our collective innovation and technological evolution. (https://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf)
There are obvious regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. There are also many questions that arise, specifically in terms of our flexibility towards future states of human transport. Does the advancement of transportation strategy, especially to solve those problems that plague us both immensely and indefinitely trump property law and state regulatory authority? Does the fear of inconvenient project execution forgo our endeavors for convenient and greener transport methods? These are some of the fascinating questions that the Hyperloop raises as its concept shoots us ever forward into an exciting future.