Apple is hoping to make its Cupertino headquarters more accessible to Californians with the installation of a Hyperloop, city officials said in a city council meeting on Tuesday.
Hyperloop—the brainchild of Elon Musk—would make the commute from Cupertino's DeAnza College to downtown San Jose only five minutes, instead of two hours, said city council member Barry Chang in the meeting.
"Hyperloop is an ultra high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric pods traveling at 600+ miles per hour in a pressurized cabin," according to Musk's Boring Co. website. "Hyperloop pods will transport between 8 and 16 passengers (mass transit), or a single passenger vehicle."
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of autonomous vehicles (Tech Pro Research)
The idea was mentioned right before the council denied a proposal to invoke a per-employee tax on big companies that would raise money for transportation solutions to help alleviate the city's traffic issues. The tax would have've impacted medium to large companies the most, based on the total number of employees. This means that a large part of the tax would have've been paid by Apple, since it plans to have over 12,000 people working at its new campus.
Discussions of Hyperloop installations are not new: Musk has already been given permission to build a Loop between Washington DC and Maryland. He's also been tasked with constructing a Hyperloop between Chicago-O'Hare airport and downtown Chicago, and hopes to one day connect downtown Los Angeles to Los Angeles International Airport.
Hyperloop has the potential to revolutionize transportation. Shaving off hours on the commute between cities, Hyperloop would expand the horizon of jobs for business pros, eliminating location limitations. Traveling to conferences or out of town meetings would also be a breeze, cutting down the pain of travel time significantly.
However, there are also many concerns. For one, it will be extremely costly and potentially disruptive to build the system of underground tunnels. Many also criticize the uncomfortability Hyperloop could pose, with passengers possibly feeling sick, as a result of high levels of g-force. The intense speed of the Hyperloop would also make any disturbance in the airspace the vehicle sits on to cause severe bumps, causing major discomfort. Although, many would argue traffic is uncomfortable too, so it may be a case of picking your poison should the transportation system come to fruition.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Apple pitched creating a Hyperloop between their Cupertino campus and downtown San Jose.
- Hyperloop would cut travel time from San Jose to Cupertino down from two hours to five minutes, but concerns arise about g-force and turbulence induced by the high speed, as well as the cost to build the system.
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.