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Hyperloop pod: 124 student teams selected for capsule design contest

To many, Elon Musk’s Hyperloop vision sounded more fanciful than sensible when he first unveiled his bold plan two years ago. But as time passes, people seem to be warming to the idea of one day climbing into a pod for a 760-mph inter-city journey through a very long tube. A lumbering city bus, this is not.

So, about those pods. SpaceX, the Musk-run company behind Hyperloop, has just announced the student teams that’ll be battling it out next month to see who can come up with the best pod prototype.

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A total of 124 engineering teams from more than 100 universities across 20 countries have been chosen, with around 1,000 students taking part. The contest takes place at Texas A&M University from January 29 to 30.

If the designs are half as creative as the team names, we can expect some exciting plans for Hyperloop’s high-speed transportation capsule. Rochester Institute of Technology, for example, is sending along the PodSquad, while Stanford University has gone with Pod People. One of Texas A&M University’s seven teams is called HyperWhoop, and young innovators from Mexico have chosen the name Delorean – wonder if this is a heavy hint on how their proposed design might look.

All the pod designs will go before a panel of judges comprising representatives from Texas A&M University, SpaceX, and Musk’s other company, Tesla.

The winning teams will then have to gather funding to build their prototypes, which they’ll be able to try out next summer on a one-mile test track being built close to the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

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Musk said he came up with the idea for Hyperloop after feeling disappointment at the plan for the California high-speed rail system, which is currently under development. The initial Hyperloop proposal involves high-speed above-ground transportation tubes between between LA and San Francisco. Magnetic accelerators would help propel passenger-filled pods through the tubes at high speed, cutting a trip between the two cities from around six hours (by car) to just 35 minutes.

To find out more about Hyperloop, be sure to check out DT’s awesome in-depth guide here.