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 ")

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941

Calling Google's RoboTaxi
'The taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings...'- Allan Dean Foster, 2006.

Hyperloop Transport Proposed By Tesla's Elon Musk
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... of such dimensions as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'- George Medhurst, 1812.

Evacuated Tube Transport Idea Is 200 Years Old This Year!
Take a look at the financial calculations behind this idea; one-tenth the cost of high-speed rail!

 

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

BMW's Remote Valet Parking Assistant
'Mary... claimed her car from the robopark...'

HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin
'Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin...'

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.

Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA
'the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom... and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'

FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory
'The reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...'

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.