Elon Musk does not set out to solve small problems or dream up average ideas. He is a visionary whose career has been defined by manifesting outrageously ambitious (some may even say absurd) concepts into reality, from Tesla, to SpaceX, to any number of other smaller ventures he's had his hand in over the years. But of the many grand ideas he's proposed, it's the Hyperloop -- essentially a futuristic train that could catapult people at supersonic speeds across the country in a matter of minutes -- that people seem to think is doomed to fail.
And yet, according to a tweet Musk posted on Thursday, he just got the "verbal" go-ahead from the government to move forward with a plan to create an underground Hyperloop along the Eastern Seaboard that would be capable of traveling between New York City and Washington, DC, in just 29 minutes.
Whaddya think about that, Megabus?
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Musk implied that he got approval from someone to build the tunnels between New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC, and followed up to clarify that the there would be entry and exit elevators for it somewhere within the center of each city.
Of course, this sounds downright bonkers when you simply consider the sort of infrastructure required to make this happen -- not to mention the fact that a fully functional Hyperloop doesn't even exist yet, and it is still very much a theoretical mode of transportation. Reactions on Twitter seemed to be an equal blend of "holy shit" and "yeah, right."
Bloomberg reported that this so-called "govt approval" came from inside the White House, though it's unclear exactly what sort of approval this means for the future of the project. In a follow-up tweet early Friday morning, Musk clarified that while it marked a go-ahead on a federal level, there's a whole lot more to be done before anything is formally approved.
Oh, and it's still unclear exactly what this Hyperloop system would be used for -- whether it would just be for cargo or equipped for passengers as well. Musk references The Boring Company, which is the venture he launched in December of last year after proclaiming he wanted to dig a tunnel under Los Angeles in order to avoid rush-hour traffic jams. According to the Frequently Asked Questions page on The Boring Company's website, it describes a vision for the future in which it'll be transporting everything from cars, to cargo, to people on sled-like containers.
In any case, don't expect lightning fast commutes between major cities anytime soon. Even with formal approval, this sort of project will take years and years to construct and test. But at the same time, don't dismiss the project entirely. Elon Musk lives for this sort of impossible challenge, and his track record speaks for itself.
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