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Tesla’s Elon Musk wants student ‘pod racers’ for his hyperloop test track

When billionaire Elon Musk isn’t spearheading the electric car revolution with Tesla motors or shooting commercial rockets into space with SpaceX, he tends to focus on small, less demanding side projects like his 4,000 mile-per-hour “hyperloop” high-speed rail system.

On a recent twitter post, Musk revealed that a test track for the system will be built, probably in Texas, and will be used to test prototypes developed by companies and students. The hyperloop concept consists of miles-long tubes in which passenger-carrying pods launch through from one destination to the other. To put things in perspective, we’re talking about travel time between LA and New York in less than an hour.

Elon Musk Hyperloop

Musk also tweeted out that he’s mulling over a “pod racing” contest, similar to Formula SAE, where students are given the task to build and design an open wheel autocross vehicle, which then compete against each other over several different events.

The “pod racing” event would presumably work in a similar fashion, with active college students building a hyperloop pod from scratch and then having it evaluated on a number of criteria (speed, capacity, stability, etc.). It’s also a great way for Musk to outsource unique and valid designs for his transport project.

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Elon was recently speaking at the Texas Transportation Forum in Austin saying that the state was a leading candidate for the hyperloop test track, though not stating which towns in particular seem ideal (we think the hyperloop is more of a Shelbyville idea). We’ll can keep an eye out on his very active twitter feed for further info, where information is sure to be revealed first. In the meantime, we’ll have videos of exploding rockets bouncing of barges to keep up us entertained.