Urban Transport

Prototypes hit the track in Hyperloop Pod Competition

Prototypes hit the track in Hy...
The results are in for SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition, which took place this past weekend - TU Delft took out the top spot, followed by the WARR Hyperloop design (pictured) and then MIT
The results are in for SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition, which took place this past weekend - TU Delft took out the top spot, followed by the WARR Hyperloop design (pictured) and then MIT
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The pod design from MIT took out third place, and earned the safety and Reliability Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition
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The pod design from MIT took out third place, and earned the safety and Reliability Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition
The results are in for SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition, which took place this past weekend - TU Delft took out the top spot, followed by the WARR Hyperloop design (pictured) and then MIT
2/3
The results are in for SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition, which took place this past weekend - TU Delft took out the top spot, followed by the WARR Hyperloop design (pictured) and then MIT
The TU Delft team earned the Highest Overall Score, and took out the Design and Construction Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition
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The TU Delft team earned the Highest Overall Score, and took out the Design and Construction Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition

SpaceX may not be developing the Hyperloop technology itself, but the company is playing a key role in getting the high-speed transportation system up and running. Over the past year, teams of engineers from universities around the world have been designing and building their visions of the Hyperloop pods, and this past weekend they were finally put to the test on a track near SpaceX's Californian headquarters.

Hyperloop, a transportation system that could ferry people and cargo through vacuum-sealed tubes at close to the speed of sound, was first described by Elon Musk in a white paper a few years ago. The idea was released publicly to get companies and teams thinking about how it could be done, and to really kick things off SpaceX launched a pod competition.

At the first round in January last year, over 115 teams pitched designs, before a panel of judges whittled them down to the 30 most promising. These prototypes were built over the past year, and put through a series of tests last week to earn a run on the 1-mile (1.6 km) test track.

After putting the pods through structural tests, open-air runs and a vacuum chamber test, only three entries made it onto the track itself – Delft University of Technology, WARR Hyperloop from the Technical University of Munich, and MIT.

The pod design from MIT took out third place, and earned the safety and Reliability Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition
The pod design from MIT took out third place, and earned the safety and Reliability Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition

The Delft Hyperloop team took the top spot, earning the Highest Overall Score as well as the Design and Construction Award. The Technical University team built the fastest pod, and MIT's design earned the Safety and Reliability Award.

Other teams may not have gotten to run their pods on the actual track, but awards were still handed out to some of the most impressive designs: the University of Maryland's team took home a Performance and Operations Award, while the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the independent rLoop team earned Pod Innovation Awards.

The TU Delft team earned the Highest Overall Score, and took out the Design and Construction Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition
The TU Delft team earned the Highest Overall Score, and took out the Design and Construction Award in the Hyperloop Pod Competition

While this contest was judged on several different criteria, the second installment of the Hyperloop Pod Competition, which SpaceX plans to host in the US summer this year, will focus purely on maximum speed. This second competition is open to new teams, as well as those who entered the first round and want to either refine their designs or enter a brand new pod.

The three test track runs can be seen in the video below.

Sources: SpaceX, Delft University, MIT

Hyperloop Pod Flights | 1-29-17

19 comments
Neil Farbstein
I can believe hyperloops are reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I have never heard statistics about their efficiency vs aircraft and besides that all the steel and other materials that go into the tubes that contain the hyperloop cost a lot of energy and coal.
ChristopherBoffoli
If Hyperloop pods are to travel within a vacuum I wonder why they are all being designed with low drag coefficients in mind.
CzechsterMarek
IMHO - I believe this to be a far greater benefit to mankind then trying to settle Mars. Divert funding and technology to help Mother Earth.
Bob Flint
The vehicle is not the real challenge, the secure vacuum tunnel that needs to be hundreds of miles long is at the crux of the matter....
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I lived on a dirt road in Kern County for fifteen years and sent my taxes over the mountain to buy trains for the San Franciscans.
ei3io
What a charming new way to travel,, in a high speed coffin inside a long dark vault vacuum tube. But i bet they can put virtual video window screens to anywhere else but there.
Nik
!WHEELS?! I would have thought that mag-lev and magnetic guidance and propulsion would be the minimum starting point.
habakak
I agree with Chris. Why the aerodynamic design if wind resistance is a minor consequence? Regardless, the land and cost to build this makes it totally impractical. Ride-shared autonomous electric cars are the better solution for the near-term. Cars are the only point-to-point transportation systems. We just need to increase their utilization (ride-sharing through autonomy), clean up their footprint and make them more efficient (electric) and make them safer (autonomy). The hyperloop will not go anywhere except maybe for moving freight.
DexterFord
OK, who wants to volunteer to be shot in a knee-high artillery shell from LA to San Fran? Even in this short test track, there are huge swerves and curves. Imagine hitting those wiggles at 600 mph. Imagine the noise inherent in riding in what is essentially a sealed, claustrophobic Pratt and Whitney jet engine? Imagine how great it will be when the passenger in front of you pukes, and you have to wait a half an hour, trapped in your shell, to get his Egg McMuffin out of your lap?
Busa10
Yes vacuum is a challenge, not in space though. Can you say Mars? Elon is planning ahead as usual!