SpaceX just staged a 3-day event at the Texas A&M University, where the pioneering space company brought together teams of engineering students from around the world to compete for a chance to have their pod designs built and tested on SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop transportation system. Musk himself even made a surprise appearance on stage during the event, where he was met with whoops, cheers and clapping from the crowd who may not have been expecting the chance to meet their inspirational icon.
“I’m starting to think that this is really going to happen,” said Musk as he took the stage, with many of the teams in attendance holding their hands up in groups in the hopes of drawing the SpaceX founder’s attention during his Q&A session. Musk going on to say, “the work that you guys are doing is going to blow people’s minds.”
The rest of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition Design weekend went on to pit over 1000 student teams from 120 colleges and 3 high-schools worldwide against each other in the design competition. This stage of the competition intended to create a shortlist of at least 22 teams, which may be invited to the Californian headquarters of SpaceX this summer to build and test their designs. Judges from Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla companies as well as university professors were in attendance to judge the teams’ 20-minute pitches and grill them with 10 minutes of questions on their designs. The contest challenged the students, not just as engineers, but also their business and marketing skills with many presenting business cards, prototype models and high-quality marketing videos, making the contest a good chance for enterprising engineers to network with their peers.
By the end of the weekend, the team from Massachusets Institute of Technology were deemed the winners, with the Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands finishing second and University of Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and the University of California filling the rest of the top 5.
It is always great to see Elon Musk continuing to engage with rising engineering stars and his positive effects on the field. It really pays off too, with both Tesla and SpaceX already performing feats beyond many of their rivals and with the Hyperloop on the horizon, Musk’s legacy will only continue to grow.
The first full prototype of Elon Musk’s revolutionary Hyperloop transportation system will begin construction in Las Vegas, Nevada, next year. The test track will be built across a stretch of 50-acres in the Mountain View Industrial Park in the City of North Las Vegas during the first quarter of 2016.
“This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality,” Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies, said in a press release. “Hyperloop Technologies will invest first in regions where we receive government advocacy to move fast. We are grateful for the support we have received from Governor Sandoval, the Nevada Office of Economic Development and Mayor Lee and his team from the City of North Las Vegas.”
The Hyperloop system propels traincars via magnetics through low-pressure, overground tubes. The first Hyperloop track was initially expected to start construction in California last month, the first part of a proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco track, but that appears to have been delayed for the time being. Instead, Nevada will play host to a potentially momentous undertaking, which could change the face of public transport forever.
“Hyperloop Tech is a cutting-edge company focused on changing the way the world views transportation, and we could not be more excited about the role the State of Nevada is going to play in this first phase of testing,” Steve Hill, Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, added. “It certainly is thrilling to see how Nevada is becoming a place to research, develop, test, and implement advanced technologies driven by innovation.”
Elon Musk’s sci-fi mass transportation system is one step closer to becoming a reality. Hyperloop, which propels carriages at high-speed through pneumatic tubes, now has two leading companies involved in producing the advanced tubing infrastructure required to create the transport network. Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum and engineering designers Aecom have both signed up, in exchange for shares in Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, to help build the first Hyperloop track.
“It’s a validation of the fact that our model works,” Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said. “It’s the next step.”
Hyperloop was first proposed as a viable method of transportation by SpaceX and Tesla supremo Elon Musk in a 57-page white paper back in 2013. Musk pitched it as the next logical step for cross-country travel, taking people coast-to-coast in the US within a matter of hours. The first full-size prototype circuit will start construction in 2016.
“I don’t think the construction hurdles are significant compared to other technologies that are already out there.” Carl Brockmeyer, Head of Business Development at Oerlikon, said. “From a technical point of view, it’s not a challenge. We are used to much higher and harsher applications.” “I thought, ‘Traveling in a vacuum tube? This is something we should be involved in,’” he added.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies also announced that it has added 400 team members, moonlighting from their day jobs at NASA, Boeing, and SpaceX, to work on the project.
Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.
Ford recently revealed two prototype e-bikes at the Mobile World Congress that aim to make travelling around cities a bit safer. The two e-bikes are called MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro and have a 200-watt electric motor, along with a 9-amp per hour battery. They are said to have a top speed of up to 25 km/h.
The bikes feature a rear-facing sensor that alerts the rider if a car is approaching quickly from behind by making the handlebars vibrate. Also, if you have an app open, it will also show the warning on the display.
There are also lights on the side of the handlebars and read of the bikes to warn a car’s driver of a possible impact with the bike, suggesting him or her to slow down in order to avoid it.
Both bikes are said to connect to Ford’s prototype app named MoDe:Link, currently compatible only with the iPhone 6. The app helps the riders plan their route and helps with direction by giving feedback through the handlebars, telling the rider when to turn. Blinking indicators are said to also automatically activate in order to inform other drivers of a turn being made by the rider.
Due to the bikes being foldable, the app can take the user to a bus or train stop, should it be quicker than any alternative. It is said to also display the cost of any public transport fees to the destination.
Other key features within the app include identifying bike-friendly roads and generate warning feedbacks regarding other potential hazards. To be noted is that the DoMe:Pro is designed for couriers, having the ability to be folded and stored in the back of a van, while the DoMe:Me is designed for regular commuters.
Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information
We’ve seen a host of personal transportation products. From tiny electric bikes to powered skateboards, none of them have ever received the same level of notoriety as the Segway. Well a new device called Hovertrax might just become the Segway 2.0.
The best way to think of the Hovertrax is to look at it as a Segway without the handlebars. It essentially operates in a similar way as the Segway; using gyroscopes and other sensors so you don’t fall flat on your face.
It will travel at a speed of 5 mph for 8 miles on a full charge. It’s largely targeted at indoor use (warehouses, airports), but could be used outdoors if you’re brave enough.
Having been under development for a while (the preview video bellow is from 2013), it went on sale last week at CES for $995.
Last year, Elon Musk pitched a fantastical idea for a new national transportation system in the US. Called Hyperloop, it involved capsuled traincars propelled at high speed through low pressure underground tubes. Now, a group of engineers are working for free to make the project a reality.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), aided by a group of UCLA students, has made great strides with the idea, to the point that engineers from companies such as Boeing, Airbus, and Musk’s own company SpaceX, have been working on the project for free. The team have developed potential cross-state Hyperloop routes, keeping the lines as straight as they can to prevent motion sickness, and preliminary designs for the stations and capsules.
HTT and the students think they have figured out how to build the vacuum tubes, but are yet to determine how to implement the friction-free propulsion through those tubes. They claim that, with a $6-10 billion investment, Hyperloop “can be built within a decade.”