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Swiss students through to finals of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition

ETH Zurich students are through to the next round of US entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop competition in Summer 2018 with their ‘Swissloop’ concept, against thousands of other teams.

Hyperloop is about moving pods through a vacuumed-sealed tube, transferring the tubular mail idea to passenger transport as a precursor to fast travel, and the competition is to design the best system.

The Hyperloop concept is based on vacuum technology: the vacuum tunnel massively reduces air resistance and thus enables smooth driving at speeds of up to 1,000 kilometers per hour.

The tube offers sufficient space for solar panels, providing the energy required to maintain the vacuum and making it an energy self-sufficient system.

Teams from all over the world have been working on prototypes for the high-speed capsules since 2017. The idea is that, in the future, people will be able to travel through vacuum tubes at around 1,000 kilometers per hour.

The Swiss team is through to the Hyperloop Pod Competition 2018 at SpaceX headquarters in California. From 15 to 21 July, Swissloop will work closely with SpaceX and Boring Company engineers to validate this year’s pods and test whether the Swissloop pod will glide safely through the vacuum tube.

The final, in which only the best teams will compete, will be held on 22 July 2018.

In the late summer of 2017, the students from ETH Zurich were initially been selected as one of 27 teams from an initial 1,200 university teams and were invited by Elon Musk to the SpaceX test site in Hawthorne, Los Angeles, to present their specially developed pod solution.

The snow-white Swissloop pod capsule won an outstanding third place. The Swissloop crew was the first team to risk a test run with cold gas drive.

“We are very happy about the participation in the final and would like to thank ETH Zurich and our sponsors for their support,” says Swissloop CEO and ETH student Luca Di Tizio.

Sponsor and vacuum pioneer Leybold, which has been involved in the Hyperloop project since its inception, sees great potential in the technology. The challenge of creating something fundamentally new that revolutionizes traditional means of transport naturally motivates us enormously,” emphasizes Johan Van der Eeken, Managing Director of Leybold.