The 2018 Hyperloop pod competition took place today at SpaceX’s campus in Hawthorne, CA. Over the past week a total of 20 teams participated in the event and attempted to beat speed records set the on the 0.8 mile long SpaceX test track.
Last December 2017, Virgin Hyperloop One’s pod was able to reach a speed of 240 mph, beating out the 220 mph record set by Tesla. The year, the top prize went to the WARR Hyperloop team from Germany. Their pod registered a world record top-speed of 290 mph during it’s final run, obliterating the closest competitors and all previous records.
Like in previous years, Elon Musk made an appearance. During his speech he said:
It’s great to see the progress from year to year. It kinda blows my mind how good you guys are at creating these pods. This is really the first opportunity to create a new mode of transport. That’s really what this competition is about: things that could radically transform cities and the way people get around.
Musk’s original concept called for shooting pods at super high speeds through low-pressure tubes. Such a transit system could get passengers and cargo from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about 30 minutes . The idea has been enlarged and adjusted in recent years, now including city based local loops that send pods through underground tunnels similar to a subway, that connect to longer distance and higher-speed, intercity Hyperloops.
At least three companies are trying to make the Hyperloop transportation concept a reality, working to make it functional on a larger scale, and hoping to see it become commercially viable.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (known as HTT) was founded in 2013. They have over 500 engineers working without monetary compensation, instead receiving stock options in the company.
Created in 2015, the Canadian company Transpod is developing a Hyperloop concept that will travel at a maximum speed of 758 miles per hour, about 50% faster than air travel and just short of the speed of sound. The company is working closely with the University of Toronto, they are hoping to have a functional prototype by 2020.