‘SpaceX’ – ‘Hyperloop Pod Competition II’ August 25-27, 2017

Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that would propel a pod-like vehicle through a reduced-pressure tube that could potentially exceed airliner speeds.

SpaceX is revolutionizing terrestrial transportation through its Hyperloop transportation services. The company currently provides these services to innovators and universities interested in high-speed transportation technology and solutions. The Hyperloop system built by SpaceX at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, is approximately one mile in length with a six foot outer diameter.

In January 2017, SpaceX offered its Hyperloop transportation services to 27 teams from across the country and world in the first Hyperloop Pod Competition at the SpaceX track. The competition’s goal is to accelerate the development of functional prototypes and encourage innovation by challenging teams to design and build the best high-speed pod. Teams put their pods through a litany of tests, which was made possible through our Hyperloop system. This competition was the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Based on the high-quality submissions and overwhelming enthusiasm surrounding the first competition, SpaceX has moved forward with Hyperloop Pod Competition II, which will culminate in a second competition on August 25-27, 2017, at SpaceX’s Hyperloop track. Hyperloop Competition II focus on a single criterion: maximum speed. The competition will include new and returning student teams, some of which have already built and tested their pods during the first competition.

Hyperloop Pod Competition II

Is there truly a new mode of transport – a fifth mode after planes, trains, cars and boats – that meets those criteria and is practical to implement?  Many ideas for a system with most of those properties have been proposed and should be acknowledged, reaching as far back as Robert Goddard’s to proposals in recent decades by the Rand Corporation and ET3.

Unfortunately, none of these have panned out. As things stand today, there is not even a short distance demonstration system operating in test pilot mode anywhere in the world, let alone something that is robust enough for public transit. They all possess, it would seem, one or more fatal flaws that prevent them from coming to fruition.

Constraining the Problem

The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper. With a high enough altitude and the right geometry, the sonic boom noise on the ground would be no louder than current airliners, so that isn’t a showstopper. Also, a quiet supersonic plane immediately solves every long distance city pair without the need for a vast new worldwide infrastructure.

However, for a sub several hundred mile journey, having a supersonic plane is rather pointless, as you would spend almost all your time slowly ascending and descending and very little time at cruise speed. In order to go fast, you need to be at high altitude where the air density drops exponentially, as air at sea level becomes as thick as molasses (not literally, but you get the picture) as you approach sonic velocity.

COMPETITION WEEKEND II TEAM ROSTER (AS OF APRIL 2017)

Team Name University
512 Hyperloop University of Texas at Austin
AZLoop Arizona State University; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Northern Arizona University; Thunderbird School of Global Management
Badgerloop University of Wisconsin-Madison
Binghamton Hyperloop Binghamton University
DiggerLoop Colorado School of Mines
Fluxor Princeton University
Hornet Hyperloop California State University, Sacramento
HYPED University of Edinburgh
Hyper Poland University Team Warsaw University of Technology
Hyperloop India BITS Pilani
HyperPod University of Applied Sciences Emden-Leer; University of Oldenburg
HyperXite University of California, Irvine
Illini Hyperloop University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Keio Alpha Keio University
Michigan Hyperloop University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Paradigm Northeastern University; Memorial University of Newfoundland
Purdue and UPV Atlantic Hyperloop Design Team Purdue University; Universitat Politecnica de Valencia
Texas Guadaloop University of Texas at Austin
UCSB Hyperloop II University of California, Santa Barbara
UMD Loop University of Maryland
University of Washington University of Washington
Hyperloop at Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
WARR Hyperloop Technical University of Munich

 

August 31, 2016Competition II Rules and Requirements Released

 

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