On Tuesday, Elon Musk's SpaceX announced the design teams that would be taking part in a two-day Hyperloop design competition at Texas A&M University at the end of January. The teams consist of more than 1,000 students and over 100 universities from 20 countries, as well as three high schools.
The students will go head to head to see who can design the best Hyperloop pod prototype, which would travel at speeds of up to 760 mph through a frictionless tube that, at present, does not exist.
Neither Hyperloop startups will participate in the design competition
SpaceX helped select the 124 student engineering teams from hundreds of entries. Some have chosen clever names for themselves. The team from Poland's Lodz University of Technology is called Hyperlodz. Stanford University's team is called Pod People. The University of Wisconsin's team goes by Badgerloop.
The teams will present their prototypes to a panel consisting of judges from Texas A&M, SpaceX, and Musk's other company, Tesla. The competition will take place January 29th and 30th at the College Station, Texas-based university. Anthony Foxx, the US secretary of transportation, will speak at the event. Members of the public are invited to view the submissions, and judging will take place Friday and Saturday, with a winner announced at 4:15PM local time Saturday. The winning team will get a chance to "build and test their design prototype at the world's first Hyperloop Test Track being built by SpaceX adjacent to its headquarters in Hawthorne, California," SpaceX says.
Notably, neither of the two startup companies that are racing to develop Hyperloops will be involved in the design competition. Hyperloop Transport Technologies and Hyperloop Technologies Inc., both of which are based in Los Angeles, have said they expect to test prototypes of the supersonic transportation systems in 2016. HTI just purchased land in North Las Vegas to test its propulsion system. HTT is in the final stages of the permitting process to build a 3-kilometer test track in the proposed Quay Valley, a planned city for halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Musk, who popularized Hyperloops when he published a white paper in 2013, said he would build his own test track in Texas, and is sponsoring the Texas A&M design competition in part to build excitement around the concept of futuristic transportation.