In our office, we often discuss the pros and cons of new tech. So when Elon Musk’s new Hyperloop preliminary design study came out on Monday, it was an obvious source of discussion.
While some of us (*cough* Rik) have some doubts about the Hyperloop concept, we can agree that a very attractive design could be reached by incorporating the Hyperloop and Maxi Taxi design concepts into one (see Rik’s blog entries about the Maxi Taxi concept on the M&O website – a summary can be found here).
With the Hyperloop’s potential advances in speed, and Maxi Taxi’s pillars of standardization and door-to-door public transportation, there is potential for a commuter’s dream. In the joint concept, a standardized carpooling taxi design that is road-worthy and Hyperloop-worthy could enter the Hyperloop and be transported at high speeds to another city (the sweet zone is a city that is several hundred miles away by Musk’s estimates) where the taxi would disembark the Hyperloop and drop off passengers at their destinations within the city.
The image above shows the major components of a Hyperloop capsule (air compressor in front, passenger compartment in middle, battery component in back, air bearings at bottom). Musk has already posited that the passenger compartment may be modified to accommodate cars. Now enter a standardized vehicle design like the Maxi Taxi.
The Maxi Taxi concept has been developed with a maritime component so far, where the taxis converge on a ferry and passengers get new car assignments to their ultimate destinations. The reassignment represented savings in commute time since pick-up locations and drop-off locations would be grouped independently, resulting in shorter routes for the taxis. This was also cool since the passengers were still moving towards their destination (via the ferry) as they completed the switch to new taxis.
In a joint Hyperloop / Maxi Taxi concept, the system could work with taxi reassignment at either the entrance or exit to the Hyperloop. However, the actual switch would take time and probably could not occur during transit in the Hyperloop, so would represent a time loss.
Alternatively, the system could skip the reassignment stage. This would sacrifice some efficiency and would result in longer routes for the taxis when going to and coming from the Hyperloop. However, the time savings of the speedy Hyperloop would make this increase in travel time marginal.
A Hyperloop / Maxi Taxi concept also has implications for the locking system on the Maxi Taxi design concept, which may be explored in a future Maxi Taxi blog.
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