Later this year, dozens of college teams from around the world will travel to Hawthorne, California to compete in a high-stakes contest to prove Elon Musk’s vision of super-fast, super-sustainable, tube-based transportation known as the Hyperloop.
The teams were chosen last January in SpaceX’s Hyperloop pod design competition held at Texas A&M University.
From over 120 schools, 29 college teams (plus one high school team and one non-student team that formed on Reddit) were picked to advance to the next round. They are now building fully functional, three-fourth scale models of their pods to test on SpaceX’s one-mile track. It’s unlikely that any of the pods will get up to the Hyperloop’s theoretical full speed of 760 mph, but the shot of adrenaline to the burgeoning Hyperloop industry should be huge.
The exact date and location of the contest haven’t been revealed yet. SpaceX is shooting for early-to-mid-August, according to leaked emails sent to the teams. That date, however, will depend on construction and testing of the track. Still, all the teams are hard at work, fueled by their collective excitement of being at the vanguard of a new form of transportation. (In his original paper outlining the Hyperloop, Musk described it as “the fifth mode of transportation.)
“There are so many unknowns because this is the first year of the competition, and the first time anything like this has been done,” said Grace Everitt, a member of the University of Florida’s Gatorloop team, “but it’s thrilling to be part of the first wave of the revolution.”