After achieving Top Design and Best Propulsion Award at SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition Design Weekend in Texas (United States) – a contest created by Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and creator of PayPal, to promote a revolutionary means of passenger and freight transportation that allows to travel at speeds over 1,100 km/h–, the UPV Hyperloop team has already begun to work in the construction of the prototype of the train of the future.
And it will not do so single-handedly. As a result of the success of Design Weekend, the group of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) – one of the 44 members of the UPV's Spontaneous Generation platform, which promotes the development of extracurricular activities with the aim of promoting student's talent and initiative – was invited to the Pod Competition 1 in Los Angeles (California, USA), where they met the team from Purdue University (Indiana, USA), which came in the top 10 of the contest. There, both teams decided to join forces to combine their talent, thus giving rise to the first transatlantic university collaboration to develop a Hyperloop prototype, which they have named Atlantic II.
Pod Competition 2, from 25 to 27 August
Both teams now work closely against the clock, as SpaceX has selected the design made by Hyperloop UPV – a team that already integrates over 30 entrepreneurs and university students – to participate in Pod Competition 2.
The competition will take place from 25 to 27 August of this same year, and it will feature the presentation of the full-scale functional prototype for a single-passenger train, which will reach speeds between 150 and 350 km/h, levitating in a semi vacuum-tube that is laid inside the 1.5 kilometres track that the company SpaceX has built in front of its headquarters.
Support from Altran, Nagares, Istobal, ETSID-UPV and Marca España
The project keeps obtaining support. Indeed, recently, the European technology consultancy firm Altran, announced its collaboration to provide technological support and contribute their experience in the field of R&D.
Similarly, other companies like Nagares and Istobal, together with institutions such as the UPV's School of Design Engineering or Marca España, have already shown their support for the initiative.
Juan Vicén, Head of Communication at Hyperloop UPV, says they are "looking for sponsors to bring the project of this first prototype forward. This is an opportunity for companies to participate in a high-impact project, receive a lot of visibility and position themselves in a new market that will be talked about a great deal."
What is Hyperloop?
Hyperloop is a transport concept based on a large vacuum-tubes system through which pods – similar to supermarket "cash-pods" – travel, but at speeds over 1000 km/h and with the possibility of passenger and freight transportation.
According to Daniel Orient, Technical Director of Hyperloop UPV, "This system would make possible key industrial connections like Algeciras-Hamburg in just 3 hours, or Madrid-Paris in one. Another of its major benefits would be to avoid long waits in the boarding area".
The goal: a more sustainable and efficient means of transport
The ultimate goal of Hyperloop is to improve the sustainability and efficiency of today's transportation systems, with an emphasis on intermodality; the intelligent connection between diverse systems to achieve significant improvements globally.
As pointed out by David Pistoni, team manager of Hyperloop UPV, the team also has Horizon 2020 in mind, a European aid programme for projects that promote sustainable economy and technology in Europe, requirements which Hyperloop UPV unquestionably complies with: "We will continue to work hard to make this transport revolution a reality in the near future. Although it may seem like science fiction, Hyperloop is very close, and we want Europe to be at the forefront of its development."