Virginia Tech Students Fare Well in Competition to Design Super Fast Transportation

Feb 3, 2016

Business Magnate and Inventor Elon Musk is a man known for his work on transportation of the future, be it space travel or electric vehicles.  His latest quest is something called a “Hyperloop,”  a new kind of super-fast transportation that’s still in the design stage.  At a competition of prototypes this past weekend, Virginia Tech’s entry showed well.  

Some Hokies came home happy from the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition, after taking fourth place out of more than 115 student design teams. Daniel Kimminau is the project manager for Hyperloop at Virginia Tech.

“Hyperloop is a proposed method of transportation -- think of it sort of as a train running inside of a tube.”

Credit www.hyperloopvt.com

While designs vary, the SpaceX tube is six feet across and made of steel. Most of the air inside the tube is pumped out using high-powered vacuum technology, which will help the train, or pod as it's called, to move at near supersonic speeds. 

Musk proposed certain technologies in his original design, but left the rest up to others to take the concept to the next level.

“Fortunately when they announced the competition they left it very open-ended, so some of the top teams, what really set them apart, what set us apart is taking that technical sort of start and pushing it aside and saying if it were us designing this from the get go and coming up with this idea what would we want to do.”

At the award ceremony recognizing the top teams, the inventor himself Elon Musk had words of encouragement.

“It's clear that the public and the world want something new, and I think you guys are going to bring it to them, so congratulations.” 

The Virginia Tech team and 21 others will head to California later this year to test their designs on a Hyperloop test track SpaceX designed.