Students reach high-speed travel contest final

An Edinburgh student team is set to compete in the final of a global contest to develop a new form of high-speed transportation.

The team – called HypED – will build and test a prototype travel pod to help design the futuristic system, known as the Hyperloop.

HypED will join 23 teams for the final of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

They are one of only four Europeans teams and the only team from the UK to progress to the final, which takes place at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, in late August.

Prototype testing

The Hyperloop system – the brainchild of billionaire inventor Elon Musk – could allow land-based transportation at speeds of up to 760mph.

Such a system could cut the journey time from Edinburgh to London – currently around four and a half hours by train – to about 35 minutes.

In the competition final, teams will test their pod prototypes on SpaceX’s mile-long Hyperloop track. HypED will begin building their prototype in mid-May.

Global contest

The team reached the final after progressing through multiple rounds of the contest.

They submitted a 30-page preliminary design briefing in Autumn 2016. The team then delivered a 120-page final design briefing in February this year, before presenting their designs to a group of SpaceX engineers in March.

The team will shortly receive further instructions regarding the competition, as well as being assigned a SpaceX mentor who will help them prepare for the final.

Business ideas

The HypED team has also progressed in a related business competition – Hyperloop One Global Challenge – as one of 35 semi-finalists selected from 2600 entries.

They have been invited to participate in the showcase event for Europe, which takes place in Amsterdam on 6-7 June. 

The team also met the representatives of the UK Treasury in January, who encouraged them to submit a proposal to develop a UK hyper-speed system independent of the competition.

Moreover, the team receive support from London & Partners, which is the London Mayor's official entity for promoting tourism and investment in the UK capital.

We are very proud that Edinburgh’s team has reached the finals of this elite contest. This is a tremendous achievement and represents a fantastic experience for our students. We look forward to seeing their Hyperloop prototype and wish them every success with the competition.

Hugh McCannSchool of Engineering


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