Image via MIT Hyperloop’s website

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MIT team wins competition to design first ever Hyperloop pod

2 February 2016 | By Joe Quirke | 1 Comment

A team of engineering students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been chosen to design the first Hyperloop pod.

More than 100 student teams took part in a design competition held at Texas A&M University last weekend.

A Dutch team from the Delft University of Technology finished in second place and the University of Wisconsin came third.

Image via YouTube

MIT’s pod focuses on safety and scalability, demonstrating three key technologies: high speed/low drag levitation, robust lateral control and fail-safe emergency braking.

The 2.5m, 250kg pod will have a cruise speed of 110m/s.

MIT’s design does not currently include passenger or payload compartments.

Image via MIT Hyperloop’s website

MIT have detailed elements of the pod:

  • Levitation: The pod will use a passive magnetic levitation system that incorporates two arrays of 20 magnets. After lift-off, the pod will maintain a 15mm levitation height.
  • Lift suspension: Which will significantly reduce system vibrations.
  • Lateral control: This will maintain lateral stability and keep the pod centered on the rail.
  • Brakes: If the actuators or computers fail, the system will brake automatically.
  • Low speed drive: In case of emergency, the pod will be capable of driving itself forwards or backwards at 1m/s using low speed drive wheels.
  • Electronics: The pod’s modular electronics architecture will enable autonomous flight control and braking.
  • Shell: The pod’s shell will be composed of woven carbon fibre and polycarbonate sheets.
  • Frame: The pod’s frame will consist of large welded aluminum rails supporting the main internal components.

Image via YouTube

Team captain Philippe Kirschen said: “The beauty of the system we designed is that it’s completely passive, an elegant property that will make our pod very scalable.”

It was announced last week that Aecom is to design and build Hyperloop test track.

A Hyperloop test track is due to be built this year.

Hyperloop founder Elon Musk has suggested that further competitions will take place in the future.

Top image via MIT Hyperloop’s website.