University of Cincinnati students were on one of 29 teams to compete in the Official SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition
, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The competition was held on Jan. 29 in Hawthorne, Cali., just outside of the SpaceX headquarters.
The team ultimately ran out of time, along with 25 other finalists, to pass final testing to be approved for the mile-long Hypertube Competition. Only three teams managed to pass all final approval testing: Delft University from the Netherlands, Technical University from Munich and M.I.T.
"It is great to reach so far in the competition," says Hyperloop UC
president Dhaval Shiyani. "When we started the project, we never imagined to get the phenomenal support and attention that we have gotten. That keeps us motivated to achieve more and pushes us to make our supporters and the community proud."
The team was placed in the top half of the competition based on scoring and will continue to refine the design and go forward.
"The company at the competition was an icing on the cake," Shiyani continues. "When people from such esteemed backgrounds praise your work, it is definitely a morale booster. We exchanged ideas on what the Hyperloop can be and we hope to keep doing that moving forward. The competition was a great celebration in how great technology can work toward improving human lives."
The Hyperloop UC team is in the process of examining the information it has collected thus far in Competition I, and preparing an entry for Competition II this summer.
"We will keep working toward refining our prototype and bringing a strong design to Competition II," Shiyani says. "The team is excited about our future prospects and the experiences of Competition I will go a long way to streamline our Competition II design."
In 2013, renowned engineer and inventor Elon Musk introduced the concept for a high-speed transport unit that would connect cities within a 900-mile radius in a matter of minutes — using this technology, the trip from Cincinnati to Chicago, for example, could be made in just 30 minutes.
The Hyperloop soon gained attention from technology manufacturer SpaceX, and the resulting competition drew applicants from more than 1,200 universities, high schools and companies around the world.
Due to overwhelming interest, Musk has announced that there will be numerous Hyperloop competitions.
The competitions are designed to engage the world’s foremost engineering talent to create a mode of everyday transportation that is safer, faster, cheaper, more convenient, more sustainable and less susceptible to weather than today’s options.
"Hyperloop is closer to reality than anyone would imagine," Shiyani says. "The SpaceX competition generated a lot of attention around the idea and it only goes to highlight that a lot of smart people are working actively toward making Hyperloop a reality."