Entrepreneur Elon Musk has unveiled plans for a mode of transport that he claims can cut down journey time between San Francisco and Los Angeles – nearly 400 miles apart – to just 30 minutes.
The South African, who is co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors, says his latest idea, known as the ‘hyperloop’, would allow people to travel the length of the US west coast at supersonic speed.
The paper in which Musk sets out his proposals says that if followed up, the concept will provide a safer, faster and lower cost transport system for those using the service.
It is suggested that the project would require $6 billion (£3.9 billion) to complete, but would cost customers just $20 (£13) per journey.
The self-powered pod, which “contains a special environment” for travellers, would travel along tubes either underground or overground, and would “[produce] an air cushion” to work in a similar way to air hockey.
Musk claims that the pod will be powered by solar panels installed to the top of the tube, which could “generate far in excess of the energy needed to operate” the vehicle.
In the paper, Musk also criticises the high speed bullet train in California, describing it as “the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world”.