Elon Musk tantalized the world in August with his plans for the Hyperloop, a mode of travel that would blast people between cities at 800 miles per hour in capsules zipping through an above-ground tube. In a 58-page report, Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, outlined his vision for the technology, which would use supercharged electric motors for propulsion. Musk’s paper called on the public to help refine the design and bring the Hyperloop to fruition. Armchair advisers have since arrived en masse.
Most of the helpful suggestions have centered on perfecting the performance and the look of the people-carrying pods inside the Hyperloop. At Autodesk, the San Rafael (Calif.)-based company whose computer-aided design software is used by everyone from architects to carmakers, Jordan Brandt zeroed in on the design of the tube and came up with a novel means of manufacturing it. “Elon has done a great job working on the aerodynamics of the capsule and the energy requirements—the things you would expect,” says Brandt. “I found there wasn’t as much creativity put into the infrastructure part, which is the most expensive part. It seemed like we were almost obligated to pitch our approach.”