Steady Progress On The Hyperloop Vision
Ever since August 2013, when Elon Musk first published the Hyperloop Alpha white paper; The research proposal outlining in detail the hyperloop concept and how the technology could work. The minds and imaginations of scientist, engineers, and students have been captivated with bringing Musk’s vision to life.
Slow and steady progress has been made over the years to make a functional hyperloop pod a reality. Since 2015, Elon Musk has hosted student hyperloop competitions via one of his companies, SpaceX. Inviting student teams from around the world to develop functional prototypes of the technology.
Hyperloop Pod Designed By Students Hits 290 Miles Per Hour
This past year a team from the Technical University of Munich have brought us one step closer to realizing the hyperloop technology. The team from Munich topped previous hyperloop speed records with a capsule that hit 290 miles per hour (467 kilometres per hour), at the annual competition run by SpaceX.
The WARR Hyperloop team was made up of over 40 students from the Technical University of Munich. They raced their prototype in the Hyperloop Pod Competition, held at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on 22 July 2018. This event marked the third time WARR Hyperloop has won this competition.
By reaching a top speed of 290 per hour (467 kilometres per hour), the team beat the record they set at last year’s competition by almost 50 per cent. What is even more impressive about this feat is that the pod was 100% self-propelled. In previous years this was not a requirement.
“Self-propulsion was optional in the previous years; it was also possible to use SpaceX technology,” said WARR Hyperloop team leader Gabriele Semino. “But we’ve had our own drive since 2017. This meant we were able to further develop our concept in principle.”
“The tube in front of the SpaceX building in Los Angeles is only 1.2 kilometres long, and the pod has to accelerate to full speed and then brake again within this distance,” said Semino. “This is a gigantic challenge. Our pod accelerates five times faster than an airplane during take-off.”
While the teams have figured out how to get the pod to go really fast – they are still a ways off from traveling at the speed of sound. Achieving these speeds would be the ultimate goal for this technology. Moreover, none of the functional pods developed to date can actually carry passengers.
2019 Hyperloop Competition
Looking ahead, the annual competition sets its sights on 2019 as it opens registration for its next years competition. Musk tweeted out how next years competition will aim to feature longer testing tracks and extra funding for teams with promising designs. Hopefully bringing us one step closer.
This time, the vacuum tunnel will be a bit longer & SpaceX will provide some advance funding for student teams with most promising designs. Bonus award for all race pods that exceed half the speed of sound! https://t.co/YucnsV3hiA
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 25, 2018
All in all – it still seems we are several years if not decades from actually being able to ride around in a hyperloop pod. While students around the world challenge themselves to design and build the future of transportation. Musk looks to lay the groundwork by using his resources and influence to get political leaders comfortable with the ideas of developing hyperloop projects in their regions.
For more stories about hyperloop check out our post about how hyperloop will effect public transportation.