Uber launches luxury car service UberLUX in LA

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Initially only for select customers, UberLUX now available to everyone (who can afford a $30 minimum fare)

Jordan England-Nelson Uber now offers rides in Teslas and high-end Mercedes and BMWs

Los Angeles is Uber’s largest market. It’s also the testing ground for the taxi app’s latest offering: rides in ultra-luxurious cars like Teslas, Mercedes Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.

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SpaceX factory has X-shaped solar panels

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SpaceX has 16,000 solar panels installed on the roof of its Hawthorne factory.

SpaceX has 16,000 solar panels installed on the roof of its Hawthorne factory. Photo: SolarCity

Like an eco-friendly Bat Sign, the solar panel installation on top of SpaceX rocket factory is a nod to CEO Elon Musk‘s terrestrial efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

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Is the Hyperloop possible? UCLA architects say “Yes!”

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A team of UCLA architecture students are spending the entire school year researching the Hyperloop, a futuristic transportation tube that promises to blast pods between San Francisco and Los Angeles at 760 mph.

The Hyperloop is the brain child of Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who released early design plans for the Hyperloop last year in reaction to the California High Speed Rail project, which Musk called too slow and too expensive.

Hyperloop pods float on a cushion of air and move through a low-pressure tube with the help of electric magnets and on-board fans.

Hyperloop pods float on a cushion of air and move through a low-pressure tube with the help of electric magnets and on-board fans.

Since Musk is so busy building sexy electric cars and low-cost spaceships, he hopes someone else will take up the task of providing California with cutting-edge bullet train technology.

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design school has taken up the challenge by creating a one-year research program, called SUPRASTUDIO, to work out the logistics of constructing a perfectly straight, elevated, vacuum tube between California’s largest urban areas.

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design students are studying the Hyperloop inside the former Hughes Aircraft hangars in Playa Vista.

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design students are studying the Hyperloop inside the former Hughes Aircraft hangars in Playa Vista.

The students are building a life-size prototype of a Hyperloop pod as well as a miniature vacuum tube system similar to the old mail delivery pods used in newsrooms and corporate buildings in the mid-20th century.

Program director Craig Hodgetts called the Hyperloop “insane” but insists that “the physics are sound.”

Program director Craig Hodgetts called the Hyperloop “insane” but insists that “the physics are sound.”

One of the biggest challenges will be consumer buy in, since travelling at supersonic speeds inside a vacuum tube might give some potential passengers pause — or lose their lunch. Most of the 25 students in the program are Chinese, with only two Americans enrolled.
All of them are Elon Musk fans, one student said.

The UCLA program is funded in part by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a crowd-funded project dedicated to making the Hyperloop concept a reality. The company, launched with help from the El Segundo-based JumpStartFund.com, was initially run by former director of mission operations for SpaceX, Dr. Marco Villa, and Patricia Galloway, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.