Hyperloop Pods – transport of the future
A team of Dutch tech students won the prize for best ‘Hyperloop-capsule’ in a contest organised by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space travel company. They're now building an even better pod for the next competition.
Image: TU Delft
Travelling through a tube in a capsule, at a speed of over 1000 km/h. Will it be the way we visit distant places in the future? If you ask Tesla Motor founder Musk, it will be. And will the Dutch be front runners in this industry?
To stimulate the development of this revolutionary type of transport, Musk launched the Hyperloop Pod Competition. Student teams from all over the world were challenged to design, build and test Hyperloop pods to achieve the highest possible speed in trials in a 1.2 km-long tube near the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Los Angeles.
Best overall pod
The contest started off with 29 teams, of which 5 made it through the mandatory safety and design tests. Only 3 capsules were eventually allowed on the track and were judged on reliability, design and scalability. The TU Delft team was awarded the overall prize.
The Delft Hyperloop team also received the award for the best construction and design. Students from the University of Munich were awarded the award for highest average speed. MIT University in Massachusetts won for safety and reliability.
The TU Delft pod is extremely lightweight, because carbon fibre is used in its construction. As the material is both light and strong, the capsule weighs just 149 kg. The pod is approximately 4.5 metres long and 1 metre high.
Magnets keep the pod hovering above the track, so very little energy is lost. Speeds of approximately 90 km/h were recorded during the competition. In a longer tube, the TU Delft prototype should be able to achieve speeds of up to 1,200 km/h.
Several members of the TU Delft team continue to develop and improve the design. More about the project can be found on the Delft Hyperloop website.