SpaceX this past weekend held its second Hyperloop Pod design competition for student teams at the 0.77 mile-long test track it built near its Hawthorne HQ, and we were there to witness the final showdown between the top three qualifying competitors. The day was an exciting one with the teams eager to show that their pods could not only travel the length of SpaceX’s test track — but also do it fast.
In the end, the winner was the Technical University of Munich’s WARR Hyperloop Pod, which featured an all-carbon fiber construction and which also ran the top speed during SpaceX’s first competition back in January. The WARR Pod managed only 58 mph then, however, and exceeded 201 mph during its run this time around — it was also the only team to shoot for its theoretical maximum during a trip down the tube.
The other two teams, including Northeastern and Memorial University’s Team Paradigm and Swissloop from ETH Zurich and other Swiss schools, both performed admirably as well, managing successful runs despite encountering a few technical hiccups.
We spoke to Paradigm’s Mark Comeau, as well as Swissloop’s Luca Di Tizio and WARR Hyperloop’s Stephan Müller. Each expressed a lot of excitement about the competition, as well as about the prospect of coming back to compete again for the third competition, which SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed will take place next year.
I asked Comeau about whether or not the news that Elon Musk is getting into building his own Hyperloop with The Boring Company changes the nature of the competition at all for his team, or their approach. He answered that it’s potentially exciting, since it seems more likely that it could result in some kind of business relationship down the road.
Comeau, Di Tizio and Müller express the distinct approaches taken by each team, and their enthusiasm for the SpaceX competition, so check out the video above to relive what it was like to be there in person (minus my sunburn).