This weekend, Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition took place at the Texas A&M University. Over 115 engineering teams competed for 22 spots in the test this summer. MIT ended up winning the competition, with Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology coming in second. The competition concluded with the announcement of the 22 contestants to move on the the testing this summer.
In the words of Musk himself “it’s beginning to feel like this is really going to happen.” At first, the Hyperloop was often discarded as an impractical transportation method, but as the competition continues, we are starting to see the practical options. As Musk said in the beginning, his purpose was to get young people excited about new transportation technology and he has successfully done exactly that.
One student from the Delft University of Technology said, ““Everyone in the Netherlands is a fan of Elon Musk. He takes an idea and actually does something with it. It’s the same as SpaceX. There was not a company in the world that wanted to get involved in spaceflight because it was too expensive, and he said he would do it. And it’s the same with the Hyperloop. He took a concept and wrote a paper about it, and that stimulated students to do something about it.”
Even federal offices are beginning to take note of the competition. US secretary of transportation, Anthony Foxx, was in attendance this weekend. He admitted to having been a skeptic of the Hyperloop concept, but the sight of the competition made him reconsider. He suggested a federal transportation funding program for new technologies that can provide up to $70 million dollars for research in this area.
In his question and answer period, Musk answered various questions, even mentioning an electronic jet he is working on. His presence at the competition is no particular surprise; his interest in the Hyperloop is mainly personal, so for him to miss the competition date would mean missing an event that meant something to him personally.
As for the test in the summer, he made no mention. It is likely safe to assume that things are on track for the competition. He did offer a little advice for the teams that were advancing, but no word on when exactly we can all start booking our tickets to Hawthorne, California.