SpaceX arranged its fourth annual SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition final on Sunday on the test tube it built outside of Hawthorne HQ. We were on the spot for the competition, and watched the Team TUM, from the Technical University of Munich, taking home the winner thanks to achieving the top speed of all the teams that were in the final.
TUM (formerly known as team WARR Hyperloop in previous competitions) is a repeat winner and achieved a top speed of 288 mph in this year's finals. It's the fastest parent for a Hyperloop pod so far – it beat its own record from last year's 284 mph seen during the third SpaceX student's resignation. It was not without accident, but at the end of its run there was a spark, and some debris seemed to fly off the boat, but it still survived races for the most part intact and satisfied SpaceX judges to qualify for the victory. [1
For the teams that were running on Sunday, the process involved loading the graft, which is about the size of the bobsledder, but little more than the engines on the wheel, on the single track running the length of the Hyperloop test tube interior. The tube is then sealed and pressurized to near vacuum, which is actually how Musk's original Hyperloop concept provided the super-speed transport method would work.
All teams gave a good impression, and the total number of student teams was actually 21, with over 700 individual sins totaling to participate in the competition from a number of schools, including Cal Poly, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Indian Institute of Technology and my own alma mater University of Windsor (who worked with St. Clair College on their pod).
Teams had to prove to their SpaceX and Boring Company staff advisors that they were ready to run in the pipeline to qualify for the final and spent two weeks before Sunday's final attempt to do just that. Of the 21 teams, only the four finalists managed to get the green light to run in the final competition, based on the advisor criteria that include the security and survival of their pod design. It's a sort of success mantra in the competition to say "Break a pod" before a race, but SpaceX engineers won't actually have team bucks to experience catastrophic tube failures while they're on the move. This year, the competition was even more challenging because all the gay men have to use their own communication systems for the first time, and the guns must be designed to move within 100 meters of the distant end of the pipe before they stop.  hyperloop pod contest 2019 "width =" 1024 "height =" 683 "srcset =" https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/hyperloop-pod-competition-2019.jpg 2400w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/hyperloop-pod-competition-2019.jpg?resize=150,100 150w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07 /hyperloop-pod-competition-2019.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/hyperloop-pod-competition-2019.jpg?resize=768,512 768w, https : //techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/hyperloop-pod-competition-2019.jpg? resize = 680,453 680w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/ hyperloop-pod-competition-2019.jpg? resize = 50.33 50w "sizes =" (max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px "/>
Most of the teams I talked to that failed to qualify was horrified but also decided to come back and qualify next year. Some expressed some frustration about the gap between some of the teams from smaller schools and those in the last four (who qualify several times a year). Many of the finalists have deep wallets, including Airbus, while some of the smaller schools have besides no funding – resulting in a cost of one hundred thousand dollars in the total bill for the test pods built.
Having said that, all the teams are clearly excited to be able to participate and see the competition as a chance to be scored at work at one of Musk's many high-tech companies, including SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company. Also for these companies, it seems like a no-brainer to try to recruit from the engineering disciplines to these first-class technical undergraduate and graduate students.
"I think the competition is fun, and inspiring and also useful technology comes out of it." Musk said about the purpose of the event before answering a final question from Boring Company president Steve Davis about whether there will be another competition next year – "Oh, of course," Musk replied too much applause from a lot of competitors.