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Pod racer: Hyperloop contest crowns fastest future transport team

Some of the top Hyperloop development teams around the world spent the weekend competing head to head with one another on Space X's Hyperloop test track to see who's design could operate safely, stay lined up and then bring itself to a comfortable stop. While many teams managed that, the one that was the fastest is always going to be the most exciting and so a champion was crowned.

Hyperloop technology is a transport idea proposed most recently by Tesla and Space X founder, Elon Musk. While Musk and his companies are not involved in its development in any capacity, they are acting as evangelists for the marriage of magnetic levitation tracks and a near-vacuum tube. The idea is to be able to transport people and cargo at upwards of 700 miles per hour.

That's all theory for now though, but there are many teams working on it and several of them competed at the Space X event this weekend. [yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMd_QGmmkgY']

We saw teams from the Massachusetts Institute of technology, DELFT University of Technology and The Technical University of Munich (WARR) all take part. They brought their own pod designs and were hooked up to a pusher within an enclosed magnetic levitation track. It's not a fully functioning track, as it uses a pusher car rather than traditional magnetic power, but all of the cars worked well, were able to levitate, maintain alignment and come to a stop when needed.

The WARR team took first place for speed however, edging close to 100KMph at one point in the test.

WARR's prototype pod design. Source: Uli Benz/WARR

Of course that's nothing even close to the kinds of speeds we expect to see in a Hyperloop, but for that to be a reality you need a lot more track for getting up to speed and stopping at the other end. What we saw here, was a proof of concept.

To see what kind of speeds we can expect from these pods in the future, Space X has announced a secondary competition to take place later this year. This summer will play host to a Hyper Loop speed test. Space X is looking for the fastest functioning pod design there is. That's where we'll really see some speed.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: I'm cautiously excited for Hyperloop technology. I'd certainly rather something like that was being invested in than the overblown HS2 network.

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