I can understand why the Chinese government would be interested in this. Right before the Chinese New Year, millions of migrant workers are stranded for days in train stations with no food or sanitation.
For a very revealing and entertaining documentary about this, check out the movie, "Last Train Home" available on Netflix and Amazon (and other places).
I have not checked the veracity of their claims. They state that they have an engineering study which backs their claims. It was apparently good enough for over 95 individuals/groups to purchase licenses for this technology. It sounds impressive at first but the license fee is only $100 so not really. However they do have a peer reviewed paper which was published last year. Check it out here, http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjmt.swjtu.edu.cn%2FEN%2Farticle%2FdownloadArticleFile.do%3FattachType%3DPDF%26id%3D8357&ei=sWBvT-L2JcfciALyotC9BQ&usg=AFQjCNG6j3ST1LLcd_gCAdhCqoxoci8F1g
I'd say that this is a person/group that doesn't understand the issues involved in scaling. Just because something works for shooting mail around in a building, or could be viable as a few mile demonstrator, doesn't mean that it is feasible on a large scale.
And, really? who is going cram themselves into a 24" capsule (coffin?) and lay in one spot for an hour or two.
"OOPS, what if there is a small problem problem while YOU are mid-way under the Atlantic..."
By that reasoning, commercial flight across the ocean would not be feasible. What if the engine failed, etc, etc.
The problem I have with this whole concept is flying along at 2500 MPH and smashing into a stalled vehicle ahead. I hope the patents have a super reliable way to detect obstacles in the path. Even a pebble in the path could be disasterous.
"It is hard to imagine anything worse than to be stuck thousands of miles away from land, under the ocean, in a vacuum tube."
Maybe falling from the sky packed in a tube with other passengers and jet fuel might be worse but we risk that too (worse unless you pass out 1st).
Travelers take risks - we only imagine we control them enough to get by.
And FWIW I agree this sounds like another boondoggle project someone got a grant to study...still wishing for that Bond/LostInSpace jetpack to fly to work...or again a water slide would be nice in this weather :-)
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.