By on April 14, 2016

Hyperloop Technologies

Hyperloop Technology’s co-founder and chief technology officer Brogan BamBrogan, who is a real person and not a Bond villain living in a volcano lair, choose yesterday’s SEA International Congress talent meetup to push the Elon Musk-conceived technology, Automotive News has reported.

BamBrogan’s company is dangling job opportunities in front of the Detroit crowd in a bid to lure new henchmen auto industry talent into its fold.

The former Chrysler and SpaceX engineer’s message to the Detroit audience was clear. To paraphrase Seinfeld — this technology is real, and it’s spectacular.

“We’re calling this our Kitty Hawk moment,” BamBrogan told them.

There are jobs to be had if auto industry employees want to make the jump. Hyperloop Technologies plans to hire between 180 and 280 engineers between now and the end of next year.

BamBrogan plans to have a two-mile prototype up and running in the Nevada desert later this year to show that pressurized capsules riding on a cushion of air through a near-vacuum is a doable thing. The technology’s anticipated 700 mile-per-hour travel speeds aren’t possible with so short a tube, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.

A functioning hyperloop line is possible by the end of the decade, he insists, though it wouldn’t be a cheap proposition. BamBrogan estimated that a two-way line would cost about $15 million per kilometer, plus land acquisition and station construction costs.

Though the hyperloop concept is Musk’s brainchild, he has his hands full with a few minor ventures that you may have heard of, so he turned the idea loose for others to develop into a reality.

Hyperloop Technologies is one of a small handful of groups pursuing the technology, and has in its ranks a large number of Musk-connected people on its board and engineering team. It also has some startup capital to move it beyond the realm of computers and paper.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is another, and it’s planning both a California line and a European one that would begin in Slovakia. That company has hundreds of engineers from the likes of Boeing and NASA who work on the technology in their off time, trading their time and experience for stock options, not salary.

[Image: Hyperloop Technologies]

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36 Comments on “Hyperloop Visits Detroit; Will Auto Talent Make the Jump From Tires to Tubes?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Gee golly at least they didn’t fear getting too specific with the details.

    “There are numerous issues, they say, ranging from potentially stratospheric cost to the mundane question of whether passengers would become sick riding in capsules at super speed.”

    Yeah, because we don’t do this already in plane capsules at 550+ mph.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Planes generally go in a straight-ish line. Without a lot of ridiculously expensive bridges and tunnels, a train-like-thing (which this is) traveling faster than a plane involves a lot more changes in direction.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It’ll be like a luge! This won’t ever happen. High speed trains are much more likely, and that won’t happen either.

        Not while fuel is affordable to the masses.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          Well, somewhere out in Central CA, there will be vestiges of the never-finished HSRTN (High-Speed Rail To Nowhere), that our descendants will look at and think ‘WTH?’

  • avatar
    NoID

    For the right money, you’re dang right I would. To be on the cutting edge of a potentially disruptive technology would be awesome. So long as I could somehow work remotely and not move to Kommiefornia. I’d honestly consider Slovakia before The State Which Slides Inexorably Toward The Sea (But Not Quite Quickly Enough.)

    But we’re on the precipice of some truly disruptive stuff over here in the automotive world too, so really its a brave new world no matter which side of the transportation industry we’re working in (personal versus public.)

    • 0 avatar

      Hey hey hey, but is your state building a 98 billion dollar bullet train that no one will use when it’s finally finished in 2033, with tickets costing $80 each?

      No? That’s what I thought. Probably because your state is mentally sound, or something silly like that.

      With Mr.Brown as our forever leader, we will slide into the sea fully confident that he has our best in mind!

      If I didn’t like the ocean so much…

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Hey, the weather is usually fantastic in California.
      “Kommies” exist only in your imagination.
      The fruits, nuts and flakes are usually in a bowl with milk and banana slices, although there are alternative lifestyle people here, just like everywhere else.
      Pizza is mostly inferior to the East Coast, though.
      And our cars don’t rust to powder before the note is paid off.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Right, because the state with the third highest per capita income in the country, and some of the most expensive real estate on the planet is…Communistic! I’m sure Rodeo Drive, Marin County, Catalina, Silicon Valley, and other California locales are exactly what Marx had in mind when he wrote “Das Kapital” – workers’ paradises where wealth is irrelevant and everyone has the same amount of money.

      It amuses me when people bandy that word around with zero concept of what it actually means!

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        Come now, I don’t actually believe California is some kind of Communist silo inside the borders of this nation. I took a class on comparative economic systems four years ago, I’m practically an expert.

        I use it more as a known derogatory term, to express the sentiment that I’d rather live in a state where I’m (generally) more free to do as I wish. California is an incubator for regulation, which can be (and has been in some cases) good…but I’m an adult. I clawed my way out of the incubator a one score and seven years ago, and I’d rather have more options on the table on how best to kill myself instead of the nanny state treating me like a child. I want my ghost guns, smog-emitting cars, salted foods, and high capacity carbonated beverages.

        In summary, get off my lawn.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Perhaps you should use a better derogatory term, then…how about ‘over-regulated’? Not as sexy as “communist,” I know, but at least it shows you aren’t unschooled, which you clearly aren’t.

          Just a thought.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Talk about pot and kettle.

        Communism means people are equal. Except those that are more equal. That’s what it really means. Pretty apt description of Kommiefornia, don’t you think? Regardless of whether Marx had figured that one out yet, or not.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, communism in THEORY makes everyone equal.

          Communism in PRACTICE is something else…then again, communism as we’ve seen it practiced isn’t the system Marx actually thought of.

          In the real world, communism only works if there is no scarcity of resources. Inevitably, scarcity of resources means some people are gonna have more than others, to some extent or another.

          Now, in a fictional world, like the universe of Star Trek, communism works splendidly, because technology has solved all of our basic needs. But until the day that we can have a free-of-charge, fully cooked, delicious and nutritious meal magically appear in a hole in the wall, communism is pretty much utopian. I’d also argue that libertarianism is equally utopian – it depends on the idea that everyone’s rational, and that they’ll all behave by the “rules of the market” if things like regulations disappear. Yeah, right. File that under “www.pipedream.com”.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Marx’s theory is flawed as humans are not equal, the bell curve proves it.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            Star Trek looked more like National Socialism than Communism to me. People appeared to still have personal property and such.

  • avatar

    Apparently: firing people through vacuum tubes like bullets made more sense than making high-speed rail service better.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The construction costs of the “Hyperloop” will be its undoing. Unlike trains (which can have at-grade crossings), you’ll need to run roads underneath Every Single Road/Driveway/Highway this thing crosses. You’ll need to tunnel through every hill, bridge every gentle valley.

    Now, I know what you are saying: Well, the road-crossing thing sounds expensive, but not unreasonable, but what’s your problem with tunnels/bridges along the route? Don’t we do that with trains today?

    Answer: Trains don’t move at over 700 MPH; the minimum radius of a curve and maximum up/down grade is going to be much less forgiving vs. an ordinary train. This can be fixed, with a LOT of money for all those bridges and tunnels, but I’m not convinced that this would be cost-effective vs. just instituting airport improvements.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      No you don’t. At 700 MPH we can just utilize Hot Wheels-style ramps to get over pesky obstacles. If we can make guided artillery shells, certainly we can guide transportation cylinders.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Yeee Haa!!!!! I can’t tell if you are joking… Just in case…

        With the whole “vacuum propulsion” thing, you are going to need a VERY fast-moving and precise system of airtight doors to keep the system (de)pressurized as the train moves along. And I’m not sure how you stop the train in time (and keep the system speeds high) if one of the doors fails to open. (You need to open it soon enough so that if it DOESN’T open, you can still stop the train before it rams the door; at 700MPH, that’s going to be a LOT of track, and a LOT of (un)pressurized tunnel.

        And the angle the train would need to be “fired” at would have to be precisely matched to the current speed of THAT train; get it wrong, and you’ll “miss” and/or need some sort of magnetic guidance system to “catch” the train and guide it into the other end.

        • 0 avatar
          NoID

          If I learned anything from The Martian, it’s that duct tape and plastic sheeting is an appropriate pressure seal for high risk environments. I’m sure a 700 MPH tram would make short work of it, so the real challenge would be re-sealing it quickly.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I guess Musk watched too much TV growing up…this one in particular…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUERtAe73NI

    Supertrain!!!!!!!!

    (Seriously, the hyperloop IS a cool idea, tho. We need more forward thinkers like Musk.)

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      High speed trains running in vacuum tubes go back a long way. The same World Book encyclopedia (I think; that was over 30 years ago) that had the article on heavy lift airships also had an article on the vacuum tube trains.

      One frightening concept is an earthquake or just a plate slip distorting the tube, and the train not being able to stop before it hits it.

      The first vacuum powered train was the Beach Pneumatic Transit of 1869.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beach_Pneumatic_Transit

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    If it’s like any of Mr. Musk’s other business ventures, expect the young (sub age 30) energetic engineers to work 70-80 hour weeks for industry substandard pay and benefits. Also the added benefit of immediately being terminated for working with the company for too long.

    But – the organization will still have insanely high worker satisfaction ratings. I kind of admire his unapologetic stance of “if you don’t want to make history, go somewhere else”, but there’s no way in heck I’d shred myself mentally and physically to make subsonic cars go through tubes.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I think the idea of having young people throwing away their most productive years on something that may never come to past to be distasteful; though many have done it with nothing else to show for it.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Poking a big hole some place on, say, a 100 mile stretch of this tube will create catastrophe for all trains in the tube no matter where they are inside it. Only way to mitigate that risk is opening/closing valve-door things in places as the trains traverse the tube. This is silly.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Yeah, I’m just wondering about how much inspection and maintenance a network of giant vacuum tubes that covers thousands of miles would require even after the massive construction and development costs.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Not to mention defense. If Muskie can keep one running safely from Beijing to Berlin, though Afghanistan, for a few decades, he may just be onto something…..

        More realistically, if these guys were attempting to build a business; as in, generate real earnings; rather than bilking people out of “investment” money; they’d start by running smaller, intracampus then intracity ones, sized for package delivery. Hang an experimental one off the Trans Alaskan Pipeline, to expedite critical parts from Valdez to Prudhoe, for example. The only after that works, try sending a Husky pup called Laika…. Nothing like this will ever get off the ground, by going for people or bust.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    For seated passengers, railroads might go as high as 1/2 g acceleration, much less for standees (can’t see that happening with the HyperLoop). Take vee squared over radius for change of direction (lateral or vertical) and determine the allowable radius to meet that criteria at vee = 1000ft/sec.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I can’t decide if someone who gave himself the name Brogan BamBrogan is cool, or not cool in the context of a hyperloop.

  • avatar

    Make the starting point D.C., and the end point an upward-angled aperture pointed at the Atlantic.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      A long enough, evacuated tube, rigged as a rail gun, may provide SpaceX a cheap, repeatable, shot at Mars…..

      • 0 avatar
        NexWest

        Actually I have a hunch that Musk got the idea for hyperloop when researching the different concepts for launching rockets from the top of a mountain. One proposal has a tunnel bored at a 45 degree angle with the tunnel at or near vacuum. The rocket would be projected up the tunnel on a mag sled and pop out the top at over a 1000 mph, at which point the rocket motors would fire.

  • avatar
    Von

    What scares me about the hyperloop idea is how failure intolerant it is. One component failure or mistake could cause a major shock to the system of vacuum tubes and people carriers inside. Even assuming it doesn’t destroy a section of the track or render it inoperable (very unlikely), a capsule going 700mph in vacuum suddenly hitting a section of air inside a closed tube is enough to cause a major incident.

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