Creating a Human-Scale Hyperloop Pod

Share story

Ten Harvey Mudd College students have joined forces with students from Cornell University, Northeastern University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Princeton University, and University of Michigan to try and build a Hyperloop pod that will compete in SpaceX’s competition. Teresa Despres ’18, Alex Goldstein ’18, Hamza Khan ’18, Chris Kotcherha ’18, Jessica Lupanow ’18, Patrick McKeen ’17, Jeewan Naik ’17, Adam Shaw ’18, In Sung Song ’16 and Hannah Zosman ’17  have been working on the project design this semester, with guidance from engineering professors Chris Clark and Liz Orwin ’95.

Last June, SpaceX announced that it would be hosting a competition to design and build a Hyperloop pod. The competition is targeted toward university students and independent engineering teams with the goal of accelerating progress toward a functional Hyperloop pod prototype. The Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transportation system. The idea is basically to create a really long tube that a special pod can travel through at extremely high speeds. This would allow people to travel from city to city very quickly. However, many of the logistics of such a system still need to be worked out.

That’s where the competition comes in. Teams all over the country are currently working to design a pod that could travel in such a tube. Next semester, qualifying teams will build their human-scale pods and eventually bring them to the mile-long test track outside of SpaceX headquarters for testing.

“While it’s a challenging problem,” Adam Shaw said, “Hyperloop gives us the opportunity to apply learning from multiple disciplines to a real-world problem with the potential to make a lasting impact on global transport.” The Mudders on the Hyperloop team have been working specifically on the controls system and will be traveling to Texas to SpaceX’s Design Weekend in January. They hope to be one of the teams selected to actually build their pod and to be able to test it in real life next June.

This post was first published by Jacey Coniff ’18 for The Muddraker  on Dec. 6, 2015