SpaceX itself might not be building Elon Musk's Hyperloop, but it is making every effort to push things along. Earlier this year it announced the construction of a 1-mile (1.6-km) test track and it has now invited over 120 engineering teams to show off design concepts for a Hyperloop pod to a panel of judges in January. The most promising will then put their human-scale prototypes through their paces at SpaceX HQ the following US summer.

SpaceX announced its Hyperloop Pod Competition in June, encouraging engineering teams to develop their own designs for passenger capsules that could be shuttled through the system's frictionless tubes at up to 760 mph (1,223 km/h). Since then it has received more than 1,200 submissions, but has now whittled that number down to 124 entrants who will present their concepts at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition Design Weekend at Texas A&M University on January 29 and 30.

Universities from all over the world will be represented, including teams from India's Vellore Institute of Technology and Uzbekistan's Turin Polytechnic University in Tashkent, along with names already well established in engineering circles like Stanford University and MIT. The full list can be viewed here.

The teams will present their designs to a panel made up of judges from SpaceX, Tesla and Texas A&M. From there, a number will be shortlisted and move on to building functional prototypes for the final phase of the competition. This will take place in the coming US summer at SpaceX's Hyperloop test track adjacent to its California headquarters.

Two unrelated companies are in the process of building their own Hyperloop test tracks, with the view to making the futuristic transport system more than a pipe dream. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is constructing a 5-mile (8-km) track in Quay Valley, a proposed self-sustaining model town in California's Central Valley. The similarly named Hyperloop Technologies plans to begin open air-testing on its own track next month.

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