Evacuated Tube Transport Idea Is 200 Years Old This Year!

Take a look at Evacuated Tube Transport, a proposed transportation system that is (claimed!) to be silent - and faster and cheaper than planes, trains, cars and jets.


(ET3 Evacuated Tube Transport)

Car sized passenger capsules travel in 1.5m (5') diameter tubes on frictionless maglev. Air is permanently removed from the two-way tubes that are built along a travel route. Airlocks at stations allow transfer of capsules without admitting air. Linear electric motors accelerate the capsules, which then coast through the vacuum for the remainder of the trip using no additional power. Most of the energy is regenerated as the capsules slow down. ET3 can provide 50 times more transportation per kWh than electric cars or trains.

Speed in initial ET3 systems is 600km/h (370 mph) for in state trips, and will be developed to 6,500 km/h (4,000 mph) for international travel that will allow passenger or cargo travel from New York to Beijing in 2 hours. ET3 is networked like freeways, except the capsules are automatically routed from origin to destination.

ET3 capsules weigh only 183 kg (400 lbs), yet like an automobile, can carry up to six people or 367 kg (800 lbs) of cargo. Compared to high speed rail, ET3 needs only 1/20th the material to build because the vehicles are so light. With automated passive switching, a pair of ET3 tubes can exceed the capacity of a 32 lane freeway. ET3 can be built for 1/10th the cost of High Speed Rail, or 1/4th the cost of a freeway.

Science fiction fans well remember this idea from works like Robert Heinlein's Double Star (see vacutubes and bounce tubes).

However, the basic idea is actually 200 years old this year! George Medhurst, a mechanical engineer born in 1759, had the same idea.

Here is the relevant bit from Medhurst's 1812 document Calculations and remarks tending to prove the practicability ... of a plan for the rapid conveyance of goods and passengers upon an iron road through a tube of 30 feet in area, by the power and velocity of air.


(Medhurst's 1812 document)

Medhurst's idea was never put into practice. However, pneumatic tube systems have been used for transporting small packages or paperwork since 1836; they were invented by the brilliant Scottish engineer and inventor William Murdoch.

From ET3 via Kurzweil AI; thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/3/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Transportation ")

Solowheel Xtreme Heinlein Tumblebug Video
'The cadets 'stood to horse' alongside their poised tumblebugs...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

WEpod Driverless Vehicle On The Netherlands Roads
'The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering.' - Larry Niven, 1978.

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either. An amazing technical feat.

Self-Driving Truck Corridor From Manitoba To Mexico?
This might be the safer idea...

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Ignition Interlock Devices Stopped 1.7 Million Drunken Tries
'Maybe the car was right...'

Man Filmed Sleeping In Tesla On Autopilot
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kits
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Humans Help Robots Identify Recyclables
'You give it a good look... then press the right button and in she goes.'

Is This Robotic Hand As Quick As Yours?
'V-Stephen's surgeon-hand, a self-contained robot of precision quality...'

DARPA's XS-1 Spaceplane
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'

Douglas Adams Your Babel Fish Is Ready - The Pilot By Waverly
'You'll need to have this fish in your ear.'

OMG! DIY Arduino Robot Vacuum Cleaner Like Bradbury's Mice
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

NASA Culturing ISS Walls For Microbes
'Collect organisms and dust for study...'

Siemens 3D Printing Robot Spiders
'The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards, balanced delicately...'

Implants Melt In Your Brain, Not In Your Hands
Implant and forget - they melt in your brain, not in your hands.

Baby Boomers Will LOVE Autonomous Cars (Trust Me!)
'Old people began to cross the continent in their own cars....'

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet Tests His Suit
'The interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

DIY Method To Summon Tesla With Amazon Echo
'Thomas focussed the violet beam of a hand flash on a plate...'

AI Lawyer 'Ross' Gets First Job
'Why don't we just feed the bloody thing to LEX...'

MIT's Second Skin Enhances Original Skin
'I must care, or I wouldn't live in this lying skin suit...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.