Elon Musk hails Hyperloop and touts tunnel

Hyperloop test track
A pod rolls down an enclosed test track next to SpaceX’s headquarters. (SpaceX Photo)

Three student teams got through the engineering gauntlet and sent their Hyperloop pods through a mile-long tube to test a new mode of transportation today.

The pod races were the climax of this weekend’s first-ever Hyperloop competition – hosted by SpaceX at its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., and backed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who came up with the Hyperloop concept in 2013.

Twenty-seven teams, including a squad from the University of Washington, brought their fast-moving, high-tech machines to Hawthorne for testing.

But there was only enough time for three of the teams – coming from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and Germany’s Technical University of Munich – to pass all of today’s required preliminaries and make a tube run under full race conditions.

“We completed all tests and were ready to go, as were a few other teams,” David Coven, one of the leaders of the UW Hyperloop team, told GeekWire in an email. “There just wasn’t enough time to race each of the teams.”

The German team, known as WARR Hyperloop, clocked the fastest time of the three, traveling through the vacuum tube at a maximum speed of 94 kilometers per hour (58 mph). Delft won the overall prize, based on the points given for design and safety as well as for speed.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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