Back in August of 2013, Elon Musk released a white paper on the Hyperloop, a concept for a high-speed ground transport that could – in theory – transport individuals from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just thirty minutes.
The sci-fi concept, which has unsurprisingly sent ripples through the design and technology communities, has had to take a back seat to Musk’s other projects including those at both SpaceX and Tesla.
Determined to keep moving the concept along though, Musk’s white paper encouraged anybody and everybody from urban planners and structural engineers to design interns and inspired high school students to contribute to the development of the project. Nearly two years later, the results of launching the project publicly are starting to pay off.
Now, Musk and Space X are hosting a year-long design competition for the Hyperloop pods themselves which will culminate in a design review weekend in January of 2016. Entries that pass preliminary tests and are approved by SpaceX crew will be constructed and tested on an actual Hyperloop prototype track seven months later in July of 2016.
“While we are not developing a commercial Hyperloop ourselves, we are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype,” says the company on the competition page.
“For this reason, SpaceX is announcing an open competition, geared towards university students and independent engineering teams, to design and build the best Hyperloop pod. The knowledge gained here will continue to be open-sourced.”
While the competition is sure to gain attention from the concept art crowd, Space X has made it clear that the engineering, physics and safety details are just as (if not more) critical than what the actual pod looks like – for obvious reasons. Among other technical questions that are asked include “what safety mechanisms are in place to mitigate a complete loss of pod power?” and “what is the steady-state temperature of the capsule as a function of speed and tube pressure?”.
If you think you have what it takes and have been looking for some ways to stretch your (or your team’s) design muscles, be sure to head over to the Hyperloop Competition page to find out more. More details are expected to be released soon, however the deadline for signing up for the year-long competition is September 15th, 2015. Find out more by heading over to the Hyperloop website.