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Disruptive Technologies, The Hyperloop

By Keshav Kowtha

When discussing Disruptive technologies and innovations with world shaping potential, the person to look towards is Elon Musk. The founder of Tesla, Space X, and Solar City is innovating many fields of technology, from electric cars, solar panels, and commercial space travel. But one promising technology, endorsed by Musk, is the Hyperloop. The Hyperloop is a near vacuum train that promises to send its freight or customers at greater than airline speed.

The potential for the Hyperloop is unimaginably large. It will revolutionize shipping and personal travel across the world. Boasting of average speeds of 600 mph, trips from Baltimore to New York City will take one to two hours’ maximum, for a fraction of a cost of air travel. For any on land travel, this can be true, and thus promises much shortened and cheaper travel across continents like Europe and potentially Eurasia as a whole. But Eurasia will see greater benefits from its freight purposes. Recently, China has made news for pursuing a new Silk Road, connecting the “East” and the “West” for Trade. Adding a cheaper, faster, and more efficient shipping mechanism to this potential trade deal connects the two continents more tightly than ever. It will provide an incomparable edge to China’s export structure, and will reduce prices for foreign goods all across Europe.

As mentioned earlier, personal travel will be made remarkably easier. As a resident of Maryland, a hypothetical student at the University of Maryland will be able to stop by to New York City, to see the sites, within a two-hour train ride. Visiting family in California, for out of town students, would be a two-day trip, reasonably speaking. All of this comes at a cheaper price tag. America will become even smaller in the hands of Elon Musk and his Hyperloop

Projections for the Hyperloop have a working prototype being complete as early as 2020, according to Elon Musk. More conservative estimates give it a few more years, and a higher price tag, but once developed, land travel will no longer be done mainly through the airplane, but back in trains, as it was a century ago.

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