The students, who number engineers, computer scientists, physicists and product designers, are among just 52 teams to have reached the design stage of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s latest SpaceX Hyperloop pod contest.
They are now vying to be one of the 20 teams chosen to build their Hyperloop Pod and travel to California and race it in the mile long test tunnel at SpaceX’s headquarters.
University teams are challenged to build a capsule for the aerospace company’s proposed new high-speed transportation system.The technology is designed to shoot pods through a vacuum at speeds of up to 700mph and could eventually see the journey time from Glasgow to London cut to between 30-40 minutes.
The 97 undergraduate and post graduate students that form ‘StrathLoop’ have designed a three-metre pod and their final design will be submitted to SpaceX later this month.
The team created 3D printed and laser cut models of the pod and its unique modular interior.
Passengers would be able to choose from low-cost high-density seating to a more premium priced experience such as a lounge, workspace or family module.
Quentin Pletinckx, StrathLoop President, said: “As engineering students, we want to leave a lasting positive impact but we don’t want to wait the four or five years of university to start doing this.
“This offers us the space to play our part in improving society without having to wait for graduation.”
He said that StrathLoop was created with the aim to answer the transportation crisis we are faced with and be a front-runner in innovation.
He said: “We have our sights set on being one of the around 20 teams to progress to the next stage – to build our pod and race it in California.
“If the last month and a half proved anything to me is that our team is more than capable to do this. We are united with the same vision – to move transportation towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly mode.”
The competition is judged solely on the maximum speed the pods reach without crashing and they must be self-propelled, but StrathLoop’s design has also focused on safety and reliability.
Elsa Larsson, its propulsion systems sub-team leader, said: “Our task is to make the pod move, and we want to move it fast. For this, we are using spinning magnets in a way that has never been commercialised, and that also will make our pod levitate.”
Quentin Pletinckx added: “Contrary to some other teams, we decided to value scalability over speed. The main reason why we did this is because we want to be able to offer an answer to all aspects of a functioning hyperloop technology, from the way cargo and passengers will board, to the economics of a hyperloop system.”
The team are currently seeking sponsorship for building their 2019 Pod as well as technical collaboration and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries.