SpaceX Hyperloop competition

02 February 2017

SpaceX Hyperloop competition

SpaceX Hyperloop competition

Delft Hyperloop takes top honors at SpaceX Hyperloop competition
Ever since a group of eager Dutch students from the Delft Technical University embarked on their ambitious mission to construct a working Hyperloop pod, the team members have been dreaming big. To them, a future where land travel rivaled the airplane in terms of speed – and required just a fraction of the energy – is not that far off.
It’s a dream that DHL shares. We watched with excitement as the team’s Hyperloop concept came together, and we proudly accepted the challenge of bringing the pod from the team’s lab in the Netherlands to California.
That’s where the dream took a big step toward becoming reality: the Delft team took home the overall prize at the SpaceX Hyperloop in California, a spectacular finish to 18 months of hard work and dedication.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Delft’s Chief Technical Officer Mars Geuze. “I’m feeling so good that we did this, that we went through the tube safely. We did it!”
As the team celebrated their win, surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the world, DHL’s Leendert van Delft couldn’t help but admire the team’s achievement – and feel proud of DHL’s role.
“It's always nice to be part of a winning team,” van Delft said after the long flight back to the Netherlands, “but I think what was more valuable in this partnership was to be part of an innovation.”

Looking to the future
Innovation – that was at the heart of the SpaceX Hyperloop competition. With 30 teams from around the world submitting Hyperloop designs for the competition, only three earned the chance to perform full test-runs of their pods.
The three finalists included the Delft Hyperloop team, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a team from the Technical University Munich.
The pods ran on a track inside a three-quarter mile tube. For the final runs, the tube was sealed with the pod inside. Then, the air was pumped out to create a vacuum, enabling the pods to reach high speeds due to the lack of air resistance. During the competition, the tube became the second-largest vacuum in the world, after the Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, was on hand to witness the competition that he brought to life in 2013. His influence on the Delft team was unmistakable – Elon Musk was the name they gave to the stuffed puppet that rode inside the pod during the test runs.



Breakthrough success
With the puppet Elon Musk safely loaded in the pod, the Delft Hyperloop team was all business as they prepared for their final run in the vacuum tube. Once the pod was loaded in the tube, it took about 30 minutes to pump out all the air – tense final moments after investing one and a half years into the Hyperloop project.
The test went off without a hitch, and afterward the teams gathered for the award ceremony: “First the winners of the sub-categories were announced,” recalled van Delft, “and the overall winner was announced at the end. When they said the word ‘Delft,’ you could see the emotion, relief, and pride on the faces of the students.”

The pod from Munich clocked the highest speed, and the MIT crew earned top marks for safety and reliability, but it was Delft Hyperloop’s design that took the overall prize.
“We weren't the quickest, but that was not the prize we aimed for,” Delft team captain Tim Houter told reporters after the winner was announced. “We wanted to make an innovative and good contribution. We therefore did not only focus on speed, but also on efficiency during construction and on the cost and safety of the capsule.”
“It was a unique event to witness and it truly felt like history in the making,” van Delft said, clearly inspired by Delft Hyperloop’s success and dreaming of the next big step in transport innovation.