Students bid to revolutionise transport

Young engineers have been putting forward designs for Hyperloop, a new mode of transport which could drastically cut journey times and emissions

Plans for an innovative new transportation system have been unveiled in the US. Elon Musk, the multi-billionaire founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, organised a competition for engineering students to develop designs for what he calls “the fifth mode of transport”.

Hyperloop refers to metal pods that move through elevated tubes on cushions of air, travelling at 700-800 mph – faster than most aeroplanes. Because the pods and tracks will use renewable energy, net emissions are estimated at zero.

Journeys between Paris and Amsterdam could take half an hour, while a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco would clock in at 35 minutes. The projected cost of a hyperloop journey is just $20 USD (£14) per passenger.

More than 1,000 engineering students descended on Texas A&M University in February to showcase their hyperloop designs. High school and university engineers came from more than 20 countries, including South Africa, Egypt and Pakistan.

At least 22 of the 120 teams will be invited to test their pods at Musk’s hyperloop track, currently under construction in California.

Image: Delft Hyperloop