I have noted before that I am a Hyperloop skeptic. I should also declare that I have known Allison Arieff for many years and consider her a friend, and tend to love everything she writes. So it should be no surprise that I love her take on the Hyperloop in the New York Times, when she asks Can a 700 M.P.H. Train in a Tube Be for Real? She starts with her recounting of a conversation with a Hyperloop executive, who for some reason describes his strange marriage.
She attended the test of the propulsion system that we covered here, and wondered what all the hype was about, and raises many questions about safety, rights-of-way, windows and more. She questions Rob Lloyd, Hyperloop's CEO, who used to work at Cisco.
The structure of marriage, he continued, didn’t work for him; it was an outdated institution. High-speed rail, he said, was also an outdated institution, so why should we continue to invest in trains? And so, according to his analogy, one might fairly describe Hyperloop as transportation’s new girlfriend: mysterious, unencumbered, exciting, expensive. A wild card with potential. But does she have long-term potential? That remains to be seen.
Hyperloop, he said, “will do to the physical world what the Internet did to the digital one.”
That’s a great story to tell, as it relegates Hyperloop naysayers to being the same sort of Luddites who couldn’t see the possibilities of broadband. “Transportation is the new broadband,” I heard again and again in this crowd. But there’s more! Hyperloop aspires to create a new transportation grid that eliminates time, space and cost. That’s an awfully neat trick.
Read it all at the New York Times.
More Arieff in related links below.