How could a special issue on world-saving innovation not include Elon Musk and his much-talked-about hyperloop? The Tesla founder has already sold electric cars (Tesla), private space technology (SpaceX) and secure online payments (PayPal). But the hyperloop idea he unveiled last summer was even more innovative and unlikely.
The super-high-speed conveyance would whisk passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in aluminum pods travelling over 1,200 km/h in a low-pressure steel tube—for less than $10 billion (a fraction of what California plans to spend on conventional high-speed rail). But will it ever happen? Musk says he floated it as an “open-source idea.” But don’t rule him out: he has a record of turning unlikely ideas into profitable realities. Just ask Tesla investors.