Could this year be the year for Washington Hyperloop? For the fourth time, the students on University of Washington’s pod-racing team are taking aim at the top prize in tech titan Elon Musk’s competition, and this time they’ve got their racer down to fighting weight.
This year’s purple pod racer, which looks like a cross between a bobsled and a miniaturized bullet train, was unveiled May 10 at UW’s Husky Union Building.
“Our pod this year is about 60 percent of the weight of last year’s pod, with the same propulsion specs,” engineering senior Mitchell Frimodt, one of the veterans on the Hyperloop team, told GeekWire. “That’s our performance boost.”
Propulsive oomph per pound is a key factor in what’s become an annual tradition that plays out at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. This year, Washington Hyperloop and a dozen other collegiate teams are due to compete on July 21. Competitors will show off the racers they’ve built, and the best of the pack will face off in time trials conducted in a mile-long tube that’s been built just across the street from SpaceX’s rocket factory.
The fastest team wins. And in the previous three competitions, the fastest team has been WARR Hyperloop from the Technical University of Munich in Germany. This year, Munich’s student engineers are racing under a different team name — TUM Hyperloop — but they’re expected to be every bit as formidable.