Cornell Hyperloop, an engineering project team, is working to revolutionize transportation technology.  The team is competing in the SpaceX 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition to design and build the fastest functional Hyperloop Pod.

The Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s (inventor and CEO of SpaceX) idea of a high-speed ground transportation system between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  It consists of a pod travelling through sealed tubes that extend between the cities.  It would travel at 760 miles per hour, and still use less energy per passenger than any other modern method of transportation.  Normally, travelling from San Francisco to LA with a car would take drivers around six hours, but the Hyperloop would get passengers to their city in just 35 minutes.  And if you think four hours to NYC is pretty short, it would take the Hyperloop only 18 minutes to get from Ithaca to NYC.

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To get ideas for a prototype and promote student innovation, SpaceX announced the first Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2015 that challenged students to design and build the pod of the Hyperloop.  First, participants submitted their designs, and those with the best designs were invited to participate in the second and third stages of the competition, which challenged competitors to build their pod and try it on the test track at the SpaceX headquarters in California.

Cornell participated in this competition as part of OpenLoop, a team of students from Cornell, Harvey Mudd College, University of Michigan, Northeastern, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Princeton.  OpenLoop’s design for the pod prototype made it through the initial rounds, but the team was not able to build the pod prototype.

But in Fall 2016, Cornell Hyperloop broke off from OpenLoop, and is determined to win SpaceX 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition in summer 2018.  

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The team has updated last year’s design, and is now designing the pod on computer programs.  So far, the team already submitted a preliminary design review to SpaceX for the first stage of the competition, and is waiting to hear back.  Once the team members receive approval, the group can begin to build the pod prototype.

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Designing and building the five-foot-long pod, and raising the funds to do so, requires a dedicated, well-rounded team, and luckily Cornell Hyperloop has that.  The team consists of 45 undergraduates of different colleges and majors. The group is divided into Business, Electrical, and Mechanical subteams. The Business team leads general team operations, organizes fundraising, and focuses on the team’s website and newsletter. The Electrical subteam works to develop both the software and hardware that allows the Hyperloop Pod to react and respond to its position on the track.  The Mechanical team works on designing an aerodynamic casing, and using magnetism to develop a mechanism to levitate the pod and create a suspension and braking system.

For more information about Cornell Hyperloop, visit cornellhyperloop.tech.

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