BBC Technology – Designs for passenger pods that could travel through airless tubes have been revealed by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Hyperloop is a conceptual transport system in which passenger pods could be fired through vacuum tubes at more than 600 mph (1,000 km/h). The MIT team came first in a SpaceX competition to design pods that could be tested in a prototype tube. The team will now have the opportunity to build and test its design in the US.
Describing his team’s winning design, chief engineer Chris Merian said: “Our pod focuses on levitating as well as moving at really high speeds. Those are the two things that we see as crucial to this being a true Hyperloop pod,” he added.
To help reassure potentially nervous riders, the MIT designers have included fail-safe brakes, which would stop the pod if the computer systems failed. However the design currently does not have space for cargo or passengers. More than 115 teams entered the design competition, with the MIT engineers scooping the Best Overall Design prize. Twenty-two teams will go on to test their pod designs on the SpaceX test track.