Student engineers at MIT have won a competition to make Elon Musk’s (of Tesla Motors and SpaceX fame) idea for a Hyperloop that moves pods of people at incredible speeds into concrete designs. MIT won the contest against fierce competition from more than 1,000 college students at Texas A&M University.
The Hyperloop, in a nutshell, is Musk’s concept for radically altering the future of ground-based transport in what Musk calls “a fifth mode of transportation.” As if bringing the electric car to the masses wasn’t enough. The Hyperloop would transport 20-30 in specialised “pod” travelling at speeds more than 1,100 km/h through tubes measuring 3.5 m in diameter.
“MIT has been involved in so many technological breakthroughs in the past century,” says team captain Philippe Kirschen, a master’s student in aeronautics and astronautics. “It just makes sense we would help advance what might be the future of transportation.”
More than 100 teams from various colleges and universities presented design concepts to a panel of judges. The MIT students beat them all to the punch, winning best overall design award for a pod that will ride inside the tube.
Delft University of Technology from The Netherlands took second place, the University of Wisconsin third, Virginia Tech fourth and the University of California, Irvine, fifth.
The top team will now get a chance to make their design ideas a physical reality and to test them at the Hyperloop Test Track, currently being built near SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California, homebase. Final assembly must be completed by mid-May, with testing scheduled to begin soon after.