Remember the Hyperloop transit system proposed by Elon Musk back in 2013? Research by private firms into designing and testing a prototype has been progressing, but Musk has added some new incentives to jumpstart faster progress.
While SpaceX, another Musk company, is not affiliated with any commercial Hyperloop companies, it is taking a more direct approach to speeding up the process with the announcement of their plans to build a 1 mile long Hyperloop test track next to its headquarters and that it’s holding a competition next year to test Hyperloop pods.
The competition aims to attract independent and university engineering teams who will design and test half-scale models of the pods. The submission deadline is Sept. 15 and the competition is roughly scheduled for next June.
No prizes have been announced, but full details and rules about the competition will be announced in August:
8/15/2015: Detailed rules, criteria, and tube specifications released by SpaceX
9/15/2015: Deadline for entrants to submit their Intent to Compete
10/15/2015: Deadline for entrants to submit Preliminary Design Briefing
12/15/2015: Entrants submit Final Design Package
1/9/2016: In-person design weekend with all entrants. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
6/2016: Competition weekend. All pods compete at the SpaceX Hyperloop Test Track in Hawthorne, California. Exact date TBA.
The Design Weekend at Texas A&M will be a chance for entrants to submit their pod designs for feedback and to be vetted by SpaceX officials prior to construction for the actual competition. Entrants not wishing to build a prototype pod may submit full designs for pods, or designs for pod subsystems or an individual safety feature.
The design evaluation panel will be made up of SpaceX engineers, Tesla Motors engineers and university professors.
Online forms for those intending to compete are available at: www.Spacex.com/hyperloop.