A team of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has won SpaceX’s inaugural Hyperloop pod design competition. They defeated more than 100 other university teams with their concept, which can be seen on their website.
The competition took place at Texas A&M University, and saw teams present their designs for pods to be used on SpaceX’s upcoming Hyperloop test track, which will be built in Los Angeles this year. The pods were judged on their originality, scalability, feasibility, and other criteria.
In second place was Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands. The University of Wisconsin came in third, followed by Virginia Tech and the University of California, Irvine. Twenty-two of the top teams will now be invited to actually build their pods to be used on the test track, including a Reddit-based effort called rLoop, while 10 more may also be picked. A full list of winners was reported by The Verge.
"The public wants something new," said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, originator of the Hyperloop idea, who made a surprise visit at the event. "And you're going to give it to them."
A video of Musk's talk is above. YouTube
Talking to the crowd, Musk suggested that this might be the first of many such competitions, and he also described how the testing would work. Taking place in Los Angeles, he is hoping that large crowds will come and watch as the various different pod designs try to reach top speed and brake again before the end of the 1.5-kilometer (0.9-mile) track. “Of course, you have to stop before the end,” he joked. “So you might recover some pieces of your pod.”
He also hinted at his next “crazy idea” – electric jets – but didn’t elaborate further.
Hyperloop is a proposal for pods in tubes at a near-vacuum to travel at hundreds of miles per hour, letting people commute between cities in a matter of minutes, rather than hours. Although very much just a concept for now, this competition is the latest in a string of exciting news surrounding Hyperloop in recent months.
For example, two separate companies – Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies – are both building test tracks of their own, in Nevada and California respectively, alongside the effort from SpaceX.
And thanks to this competition, there are now a number of potentially successful ideas that could be used in upcoming Hyperloop tubes. Who knows when, or if, it will really become viable for the public. We’re just happy to be along for the ride.