Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cmu Team's High-Speed Transit Idea to Get a Test in Spacex Competition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cmu Team's High-Speed Transit Idea to Get a Test in Spacex Competition

Article excerpt

This year's Carnegie Mellon University Hyperloop team, which is using magnetic rather than air-pressure levitation, is poised this coming weekend to send its prototype Hyperloop pod flying down a vacuum tube as fast as a Formula 1 race car, in what could represent the future of mass transportation.

The 55-member team has been busy for more than a year, developing technology to accelerate and slow down a half-scale Hyperloop pod, all without a power source.

This school year, after key engineering changes, the team finally will see how well its prototype works Friday through Sunday during the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in Hawthorne, Calif.

There, pod prototypes will be tested inside a 1.5-mile, low-pressure tube at speeds of up to 220 mph with an eventual goal of speeds of 700 mph.

CMU team leader Vishal Jain said its vehicle will accelerate and brake based on "eddy currents" of energy generated by the team's unique configuration of powerful commercial magnets that eliminate any need for a power source. Hyperloop rules allow for each pod to get an initial push at the start of each trial to allow levitation to take place.

The entire concept is similar to pneumatic tubes used at a bank's drive-through window, with pods eventually serving as transportation vehicles for people and cargo.

The CMU team of 55 graduate and undergraduate students in engineering, design and business not only will be one of the 30 teams competing this weekend, but already has qualified for Hyperloop II, the next round of competition next summer at the same site.

In 2013, Elon Musk, SpaceX's owner and operator, came up with the Hyperloop concept involving a transportation system based on levitating pods traveling 700 mph through vacuum tubes. That would mean traveling from Pittsburgh to Chicago in a half-hour, or Los Angeles in three hours - faster than air transportation. …

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