Now that we’re basically living in yesteryear’s vision of the future — with our portable communication devices, futuristic sneakers, and even flying cars — it’s time to think further ahead. From a travel and transportation point-of-view, the engineers at ET3 are proposing an über-fast Evacuated Tube Transport system that could whisk passengers from New York to L.A. in just 45 minutes — or even Washington D.C. to Beijing in two hours.
How is this accomplished? Passengers are strapped comfortably into a cylindrical capsule, which travels through a tube — similar to an old-fashioned pneumatic tube system for mail and money — but at super high speeds reaching up to 370 mph for domestic travel and 4,000 mph for international. Conceivably you could be at work in Washington or New York, hop on the Evacuated Tube Transport system, and be in Beijing for a real authentic Chinese dinner — even if it rains at any point on the way since it’s an enclosed system.
The capsule actually travels via maglev technology — magnetic levitation which suspends and propels objects with no moving parts, friction, or need for fossil fuels. Here’s a video demo of how it works, thanks to a find from io9:
Video via NMANewsDirect on YouTube
ET3 claims that this futuristic tube system the best idea going forward in global transportation, especially from an efficiency and sustainable point of view; the Evacuated Tube Transport system can “provide 50 times more transportation per kWh than electric cars or trains” at 1/10 the cost of a high-speed rail system, or a quarter of the cost of a freeway. And the technology behind it has already been proven to work, albeit not on a global scale; maglev technology has been in use with high-speed trains in Japan since the mid-1980s — which means the idea of super fast tube travel isn’t such a pipe dream after all, no pun intended. Let’s just hope traveling at 4,000 mph doesn’t make us too quesy; it could get disgustingly sloppy coming home after eating all that Chinese food.