The Future of Personal Transportation….First the Car, Now What?

Elon Musk is a visionary that is making an impact on the way we live. Even after starting companies like Tesla (the electric car) and SpaceX (space exploration), Musk is just getting started. His next vision is rapid transportation via vacuum-like tubes/infrastructure. If you watch the quick video below, you’ll see the simple, but effective theory behind this vision…

Visions like this make you wonder, if this vacuum transportation happens: what happens to the airline industry? will this new mass transit have to be heavily subsidized, much like the airline industry? will this be available on a smaller scale, say for running around town?

That last question got me thinking, what will ever replace the personal transportation industry, aka cars and the roads that enable them? Maybe I won’t see it in my lifetime, but how soon will someone invent a vehicle that doesn’t utilize these expensive, old, and high-maintenance road infrastructures? I know my parents thought life would be like The Jetsons now, or at least own a flying car.

Innovation in the transportation industry seems to be bound by the infrastructure….what if it wasn’t? What if we had a more efficient way for all of us to get to work without the government and taxpayers having to spend endless dollars to maintain and build these roads? Is the future of personal transportation this, this, or this? Which company will lead the revolution, or will it be a startup with massive VC-backing? I feel Tesla’s road-map to success (four rounds of VC funding totalling ~$200mn), followed by low-interest loans issued by the government (in this case the Dept. of Energy), will be a viable funding model. Once commercialization is proved, then the government will be willing to step in if the technology will help push a particular political agenda.

These are all just random thoughts. Elon Musk is definitely a thought leader in the transportation space. I’m interested to see what is proposed next, and unfortunately I don’t have the answer……yet. Do you? Post a comment below if you have an idea.


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