Tag Archives: transportation

Revised Post #3: The Hyperloop will Disrupt the Shipping Industry Entirely

Thesis: The Hyperloop will have long-term economic effects as it disrupts many industries, the first being the container shipping industry.

Elon Musk’s vision for the hyperloop is finally coming to fruitation. This innovation will disrupt the transportation industry as soon as it is implemented, and help clear up traffic immediately.

The hyperloop is as Bruce Upbin wrote in his Forbes article, Hyperloop Is Real: Meet the Startups Selling Supersonic Travel,

It’s that far-out idea billionaire industrialist Elon Musk proposed in a 58-page white paper in August 2013 for a vacuum-tube transport network that could hurtle passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles at 760 miles an hour. Laughed off as science fiction, it is as of today an actual industry with three legitimate groups pushing it forward, including Hyperloop Technologies, the team in Harry Reid’s office. They emerge from “stealth” mode with this article, armed with an $8.5 million war chest and plans for a $80 million round later this year. “We have the team, the tools and the technology,” says Bam Brogan. “We can do this.” The 21st-century space race is on.”

This vacuum tube has been compared to sci-fi fantasies, but it is finally becoming a reality as Alex Davies wrote in his article, “Fortunately for futurists and people who enjoy picking apart complicated plans, an El Segundo, California-based startup has taken Musk up on his challenge to develop and build the Hyperloop.” This innovation will immediately change the dynamics of transportation. As the channels to utilize this form of transportation expand between major hubs, it will allow cargo to be shipped at high speeds throughout these hubs. This will allow a car made in Detroit to be shipped to its buyer in Los Angeles in a matter of just a few hours. This will also clear up some of the hated traffic on highways. Companies will be able to utilize the hyperloop for long distance shipping, for much faster delivery.

The major problem I see with implementing this technology (assuming first that some firm develops the technological and economic capabilities to build the hyperloop) is that truck drivers will oppose this with ferocity. They will see this as a threat to their jobs, and take action against it. This will happen in the form that taxi’s are trying to prevent car hailing apps, i.e. Uber and Lyft, by blocking traffic for hours to send their message. These type of actions will slow the implementation of the hyperloop, but will not stop it. This innovation also will not eliminate truck driver’s jobs because the hyperloop, being so expensive, will only make financial sense between major cities initially. There will still be a need for truck drivers to then make the delivery from these transportation hubs to their final destination. While this will certainly reduce the number of jobs, it will not eliminate entirely, this slow reduction of jobs should allow truck drivers some time to retrain for other jobs or develop other contingency plans.

The hyperloop will change entirely the container shipping industry by increasing the speed at which goods can be delivered to their final destination. It also has large-scale implications for human travel one day too, as Bruce Upbin wrote in his article, “The hyperloop, which Musk dubs “the fifth mode,” would be as fast as a plane, cheaper than a train and continuously available in any weather while emitting no carbon from the tailpipe. If people could get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 20 minutes, or New York to Philly in 10, cities become metro stops and borders evaporate, along with housing price imbalances and overcrowding.” While this may be a long ways in the future, it at least now has the chance to become a reality, rather than just a dream of some sci-fi author.

The Hyperloop will Disrupt the Shipping Industry Entirely

Elon Musk’s vision for the hyperloop is finally coming to fruitation. This innovation will disrupt the transportation industry as soon as it is implemented, and help clear up traffic immediately.

The hyperloop is as Bruce Upbin wrote in his Forbes article, Hyperloop Is Real: Meet the Startups Selling Supersonic Travel,

It’s that far-out idea billionaire industrialist Elon Musk proposed in a 58-page white paper in August 2013 for a vacuum-tube transport network that could hurtle passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles at 760 miles an hour. Laughed off as science fiction, it is as of today an actual industry with three legitimate groups pushing it forward, including Hyperloop Technologies, the team in Harry Reid’s office. They emerge from “stealth” mode with this article, armed with an $8.5 million war chest and plans for a $80 million round later this year. “We have the team, the tools and the technology,” says Bam Brogan. “We can do this.” The 21st-century space race is on.”

This vacuum tube has been compared to sci-fi fantasies, but it is finally becoming a reality as Alex Davies wrote in his article, “Fortunately for futurists and people who enjoy picking apart complicated plans, an El Segundo, California-based startup has taken Musk up on his challenge to develop and build the Hyperloop.” This innovation will immediately change the dynamics of transportation. As the channels to utilize this form of transportation expand between major hubs, it will allow cargo to be shipped at high speeds throughout these hubs. This will allow a car made in Detroit to be shipped to its buyer in Los Angeles in a matter of just a few hours. This will also clear up some of the hated traffic on highways. Companies will be able to utilize the hyperloop for long distance shipping, for much faster delivery.

The major problem I see initially with this is that truck drivers will oppose this with ferocity. They will see this as a threat to their jobs, and take action against it. This will happen in the form that taxi’s are trying to prevent car hailing apps, i.e. Uber and Lyft, by blocking traffic for hours to send their message. These type of actions will slow the implementation of the hyperloop, but will not stop it. This innovation also will not eliminate truck driver’s jobs because the hyperloop, being so expensive, will only make financial sense between major cities. They will still need truck drivers to make the final delivery from these transportation hubs to their final destination. While this will certainly reduce the number of jobs, it will not eliminate entirely, this slow reduction of jobs should allow truck drivers some time to retrain for other jobs.

The hyperloop will change entirely the container shipping industry by increasing the speed at which goods can be delivered to their final destination. It also has large-scale implications for human travel one day too, as Bruce Upbin wrote in his article, “The hyperloop, which Musk dubs “the fifth mode,” would be as fast as a plane, cheaper than a train and continuously available in any weather while emitting no carbon from the tailpipe. If people could get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 20 minutes, or New York to Philly in 10, cities become metro stops and borders evaporate, along with housing price imbalances and overcrowding.” While this may be a long ways in the future, it at least now has the chance to become a reality, rather than just a dream of some sci-fi author.

How Close are we to the Autonomous Car Revolution?

Self-driving cars are one of the impending technological advancements that consumers are the most excited about.  The idea that you could step into your car, punch in an address, and then divert your attention to something completely unrelated to driving while zooming to your destination is a very luxurious one, and it is one that is becoming more and more feasible every day.  Google, one of the pioneers in the field of driverless cars, has a fleet that has clocked almost a million miles with just one accident – which occurred when a car was rear-ended while under manual use, as noted in The Telegraph.  The company predicts that the product will be publicly available as soon as 2020, which is shockingly soon, all things considered.

Zack Kanter, a self-proclaimed futurist writing for CBS San Francisco, is one of the many extreme optimists regarding the topic of self-driving cars.  Citing the many benefits to be gained by taking drivers out of the equation, such as virtually eliminating traffic accidents, saving millions of hours of manpower, and the rise of newly viable businesses as driving forces, he made dramatic predictions about how driverless cars will reshape the economy.  Kanter believes that consumers will essentially abandon the car in favor of ride-sharing services like Uber, while said services make the transition from contracted drivers towards automatic cars.  He anticipates these changes will take effect as soon as 2025 – in just ten years time.  Is his prediction too bold?  Some might say no: it’s incredibly hard to predict how technology can reshape our lives.  Ten years ago people may have not believed you if you claimed that everybody would carry a personal computer-like device on them at all times, but smartphones made that a reality.  However, in the case of self-driving cars, I think Kanter and leading industry members like Elon Musk, who claims that fully-autonomous driving will be on the market by 2020, are being a bit too optimistic.

I certainly can’t see the average American giving up car ownership within the next ten years.  Consumers will see self-driving cars completely differently from how they currently view cars, since the product is fundamentally different.  While I think there will be some early adopters, like there was in the case of hybrid cars, it will take a while for people to get comfortable with the concept of giving up driving completely.  While it’s true that it’s often a chore, many people enjoy driving, and they certainly take pride in their cars.  And driverless cars will almost certainly be quite expensive when they first become available, creating an economic barrier to widespread adoption. There’s also the question of how driverless cars will be handled legally.  Even if there’s overwhelming evidence that they reduce accidents, there’s still the question of how liability will be determined in accidents when they do occur, especially while manually driven cars are still on the roads, and that’s an issue that may take years for precedent to develop.  Traffic laws may need to be re-evaluated: would we still need stoplights if there are fewer cars on the road, and they’re being automatically driven?  What about road signage or stop signs?  Will parking lots and traffic tickets become a thing of the past, and if so, how are municipalities going to deal with the loss of revenue?  The technology is an exciting one, but there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered before it can become the status quo.