As the founder of both SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk has garnered a reputation as being the closest thing we have to a real-life Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. And while the playboy charisma and crime-fighting aspects aren't readily apparent, it does appear that Musk is dedicated to using technology to push us further ahead faster than most in terms of things we can use right now. His latest idea is the Hyperloop, a concept for a next-gen high-speed transportation system that he generally offers little detail on, that is, until yesterday.
During an extended interview at the D11 conference in New York, Musk was asked by a well-known venture capitalist in the audience how his Hyperloop concept, first mentioned about a year ago, was coming along. The anxiousness of the question, which appears to be shared by many in the tech industry, is somewhat understandable.
Back in July of last year, Musk wrote via Twitter:
Will publish something on the Hyperloop in about four weeks. Will forgo patents on the idea and just open source it. Not a vac tunnel btw.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2012
But we never got that open source idea, and ever since then Musk has only been pelted with increasingly urgent questions from those who believe that, like his success with Tesla and SpaceX, he can really accomplish what he hinting at.
For those unaware of the basics of the Hyperloop, it's essentially an idea to create city-to-city transport that is several times faster than current bullet trains. The idea, as first proffered, would allow someone to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes. Based on some of the hints dropped by Musk at various times, some believe the system might be something akin to the pneumatic transportation system seen in The Jetsons, but again, this is just speculation.
Addressing the questioner yesterday, Musk was still reluctant to offer details, but hinted that, contrary to last year, his idea is now fully fleshed out. However, he did offer a little more detail, saying that the Hyperloop system could be described as, "a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table."
Musk promised to release more specific details on the Hyperlooop sometime after an unrelated June 20 announcement regarding developments at Tesla. In the meantime, you can watch the entire interview here, or just watch the part about the Hyperloop in the video below.