Podshare? Pioneering floating Hyperloop transport pod prototypes raced in US

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Elon Musk’s ‘Hyperloop’ transport system has been raced in a prototype competition in the US this week.

A competition was held for student groups to design prototype pods for the system, which is a futuristic transportation network that has carbon-fibre pods travelling through tubes to set destinations.  It uses magnetic levitation technology to power pods through a vacuum.

Thirty teams of students from across the globe entered the competition, and Delft University from the Netherlands came out on top, beating favourites MIT (Massachusettes Institute of Technology). The University successfully raced half-scale pods around a 1km track at Elon’s SpaceX HQ. Only three teams made it through to the final round.

“Through the use of light and strong carbon fibre the Delft pod of about 4.5 metres long and 1 metre in height weights only 149 kilograms,” explained the team: “Using permanent magnets the Delft pod floats above the track, resulting in very little energy usage.”

A second competition will be held in the summer to find the fastest design, where Delft will compete again.

SpaceX confirmed: “Hyperloop Competition II will be focused on a single criterion: maximum speed. The second competition is open to new student teams interested in competing on the test track, as well as to existing student teams who have already built and tested Pods to further refine their designs.”

Hyperloop is believed to be being considered for public transport in the UK, with Transport for the North saying in 2016 that they ‘remain open’ to it being installed. Such a system would enable travel from Manchester in London in just 19 minutes.

Are you looking feeling positive about developments like Hyperloop? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Author Lex Barber

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