October 29, 2018


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I get the feeling I’m the only man that ever showed up in Abu Dhabi wearing boots

Boots on the Ground

The promise of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop system is simple. A vacuum-less tube using linear electric motors can be used to propel passengers in 28 passenger capsules to 700 mph plus speeds. The capsules can expand to include three standard size automobiles as well.

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Extension of Abu Dhabi, blue line = hyperloop



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A tube system endlessly configurable above or below ground avoids complicated land entitlement issues that plague high-speed train, rail lines or ideas of above ground monorail systems. The tube when above ground is held merely by a system of pylons that have a minimal footprint ( think utility pole circumference). Solar panels on the top of the above-ground sections of the tube enable the potential for it to be entirely self-powered and have zero carbon emissions.

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This is how I am redesigning the original street typology to accomodate emerging technologies

This system replaces all modes off previous transportation, rail, air, water or land. Still, amusingly it requires trace paper, a scale, and pens to plan. Oh and coffee…lots of coffee. One thing for certain the hyperloop, or variations of it, will not be like a subway or rail system. Combining machine learning and A.I. to manage it offers limitless potential to reconfigure our cities and their open space.

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Image of boring tunnel in L.A. Courtesy Elon Musk.

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Autonomous cars though create a problem all their own. What may eliminate the need for parking introduces the notion of increased congestion of vehicles perpetually driving around waiting for passengers to summon them.

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Somehow this mix will be autonomous cars/pods and mass transit via a hyperloop type technology. How a city prepares for this by leaving open space decisions configurable and works with companies like Tesla now - which will use artificial intelligence to manage the process, is where the design process of streets are at present. Planners and landscape architects are way behind.

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How that interface works- does the car/owner technology control the grid, or does a municipality similar to how air traffic control works manage it, has yet to be determined but will radically reshape America’s urban space.

Do not make the mistake of thinking this is technology coming one day. This technology is proven and available. The only limitation is high speed internet ( 5 G +) as a bottleneck. Once that is resolved this grid of autonomous vehicles and hyperloop systems will be controlled by…some entity yet to be decided. Likely that will be non-human, A.I. manged, and use blockchain technology.

Now if they can figure out to have my truck connect to the trailer, load my horse and pull up to the front door all by itself we will be in business :)

Courtesy D. Shawn Kennedy @rarelyserious on twitter



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