About 2 dozen teams of students and engineers are creating hyperloop pods to compete and try to achieve the greatest speed and control on the 1-mile track for the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. As we reported earlier this month, the track is quickly taking shape in front of SpaceX’s HQ in Hawthorne, so we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the pods that will compete on it.
The tube of the test track is 6-ft in diameter so the pods are not full-scale and they can’t fit a passenger or much cargo, but the goal of the competition is to develop propulsion systems and overall pod designs.
The first pod we will be taking a quick look at is the one pictured above from the Hyperloop UC team at the University of Cincinnati. They are using a magnetic levitation system and they made a demonstration earlier this week.
The pod will levitate a quarter-inch off the track which will eliminate the ground friction in the near-vacuum of SpaceX’s test track.
Here are the videos of the tests:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Hyperloop Team won the design part of the SpaceX competition and now they built their prototype which will compete in the main challenge.
The MIT team is also using a magnetic levitation system:
“Our primary goal is to demonstrate high speed, low drag levitation, lateral control, and emergency braking technologies in a safe, scalable, and feasible pod design. Pending SpaceX launcher specifications, our 250kg pod should be accelerated at 2.4G to a top speed of 100m/s.”
The presentation of their pod:
Badgerloop is a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and they also received a top award at the design competition. They have yet to unveil a working prototype yet, but the design images they released look very cool:
The team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands came in second at the design weekend. The team is well-financed through several sponsors and already unveiled its working prototype back in June.
rLoop is the only non-student team to qualify for the competition on the test track after the design weekend. It is a crowdsourced team born out of Reddit with more than 140 members from over 14 countries. The team won a few sponsors but also managed to raise over $60,000 on Indiegogo in order to make their prototype for the competition.
They have yet to unveil it, but they released a few teasers of the tech they are developing for it:
The competition will take place during the weekend of January 27-29, 2017, but access to the system will be available sooner for some test runs.