Round world trips in 6 hours proposed using high-speed human tube network

It's being touted as ‘space travel on Earth’ and a faster alternative to jet travel. Vacuum tube travel is being developed in the hope that it could zip us around the world in just six hours.

Round world trips in 6 hours proposed using high-speed human tube network


Most of us are used to boarding what is essentially an aluminum tube and jetting off to far-flung destinations.

But the designers of a radical form of high speed travel are hoping a different kind of tube will revolutionalise the way we travel in future – and it’s called Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT).

It involves creating six-seat capsules that whizz passengers inside a network of frictionless, airless tubes, at speeds of up to 4,000mph.

Its designers hope the concept – already familiar to fans of the cartoon Futurama – will allow passengers to travel from New York to China in just two hours, or around the world in six hours.

Far from being the world’s most frightening roller coaster, passengers would feel minimal G forces and discomfort, according to the US-based ET3 consortium – the brainchild of the technology. These scientific claims, however have not been tested.

And as suffocating as travelling in airless tubes sounds, the passenger pods whizzing through them would be equipped with oxygen. There would be airlocks at stations designed to prevent air from escaping into the tube network when passengers disembark.

Not just fast, but efficient too

The developers claim that the tube system – which would run on electricity – is safer, cheaper, quieter and around 50 times as efficient as travelling by train or electric car, as there is no air resistance or friction with a road or track surface.

ET3 said on its website: “Since the system is efficient in energy and materials used, high-speed travel will be low-cost, and sustainable. Eventually, everyone in the world may use the system.

“We could all enjoy low cost world travel in less than 10 years.”

The consortium – which is still trying to develop the system – wants to test it initially to transport cargo.

Engineer, Daryl Oster came up with the idea in the 1980s before travelling to China to get financial backing.

But it is unclear how such a system would ever get off the drawing board – at such a vast scale – and how the tubes could be built over oceans.

There is also no prototype of the system – yet.

The idea, at least for now, remains a pipe dream.

Watch a video of how the Evacuated Tube Transport would work here:

Supersonic travel

It’s not the only radical super high-speed mode of transport being developed on paper.

A UK-based aerospace firm is developing a next-generation Concorde alternative, called ‘SonicStar‘, which it says could reduce travel time between the Gulf and New York within two and a half hours.

The company behind it – HyperMach – has spent seven years developing the jet, which they claim will be able to travel at speeds greater than 2,600mph – making it twice as fast as Concorde.

A launch date with passengers has been set for 2021 – if the firm can secure enough funding to get the project off the ground.

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