If you are a follower of futuristic high-speed transport systems you’ll have had your fill of high-speed trains, you’ll mourn the passing of Concorde and be looking forward to future supersonic passenger aircraft. Unless you have a small fortune to pay for a spaceplane tourist flight at an unspecified time in the future, life is going to feel a little slow.
There is one spark of light in this relative gloom though, in the form of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. A partially evacuated tube in which vehicles, or “pods” can accelerate to very high speeds. SpaceX may not be pursuing it themselves, but they’ve made it available for others and to promote it they are running a competition in which they have invited teams to submit pod designs. And as a significant number of teams have made it through the first round and are prepared to compete outside SpaceX’s headquarters, Business Insider have a look at all the teams and their prototype pods.
With a couple of exceptions from a commercial entry and a high school, all of the entrants are backed by universities. They hail from all over the world, as far away as the Netherlands, Japan, and Australia, and their craft will compete in timed runs over a three-quarter mile scaled-down Hyperloop tube constructed on the highway outside the SpaceX lot. It is interesting to note the different design strategies taken, such as the choice of magnetic or pneumatic levitation, or even in some cases riding on conventional wheels.
Whether or not we will all be using Hyperloops in decades to come or whether it will go the way of the 19th century atmospheric railways remains to be seen, however it remains one of the more exciting emerging transport technologies of the moment. We’ve reported in the past on plans for a different test track, we’ll try to keep you updated with any future developments.