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Bill Gates casts doubts on the Hyperloop
Microsoft founder claims safety will be an issue for Elon Musk’s high-speed system - and says he’s ‘not sure the concept makes sense’

  (News Agencies) Count Bill Gates as part of the growing camp of Hyperloop skeptics.
Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk has gotten closer to making his radical, pod-based transportation system a reality.
But the Microsoft co-founder has cast some doubt on whether or not Hyperloop, which promises to ferry passengers hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes, will actually work.
‘I am not sure the Hyperloop concept makes sense,’ Gates said Tuesday during a question and answer session on Reddit.
‘Making it safe is hard,’ he added.
Gates didn’t elaborate on why he felt Hyperloop might be unsafe, but said he feels more confident about the future of electric vehicles and self-driving cars.
‘I think electric cars and autonomous vehicles will be great things,’ Gates explained.
The comments came after a user asked why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hasn’t focused on transportation issues.
The Gates Foundation has donated billions of dollars to health and humanitarian causes.
He said the Gates Foundation is experimenting with drone delivery of medical supplies in Rwanda and Tanzania.
As far as fixing issues with transportation, Gates believes that task is more suited for the private market, however.
‘I think the private market rewards innovation in this space quite well,’ he noted.
There has been a flood of activity among private corporations around autonomous vehicle technologies, space exploration, flying cars and boats, as well as high-speed pod travel, such as Hyperloop.
Although various startups and corporations are working to build a Hyperloop system, Musk was one of the first people to publicize the concept, mentioning it in 2012.Musk’s SpaceX made the Hyperloop concept ‘open-source’ so that anyone can develop their own prototype.
The Tesla chief said in 2013 that Hyperloop would be able to take passengers from LA to San Francisco — a distance of approximately 380 miles — in about 30 minutes. That’s half the time it would take a plane to travel that distance. Aside from SpaceX, California-based research company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One and Canadian firm TransPod are among many others exploring the radical transportation technology.
Many firms are now competing to achieve the first full-scale design. Hyperloop's propulsion system is integrated into the tube and can only accelerate the capsule to speeds that are safe in each section, Musk explained on SpaceX's website. The passenger capsules also have emergency brakes. 'In the unlikely event of a large scale capsule depressurization, other capsules in the tube would automatically begin emergency braking whilst the Hyperloop tube would undergo rapid de-pressurization along its entire length,' he continued.
Once the capsules slow down, they're able to drive themselves to safety using 'small onboard electric motors,' Musk added. The capsules are also equipped with a reserve air supply to protect passengers inside.
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