‘Revolutionary’ transportation

First cars, then trains, next airplanes and now … tubes?

A new trend is catching on that could once again revolutionize travel as we know it: The Hyperloop.

“Hyperloop is a revolutionary new idea of fast speed ground transportation envisioned by Elon Musk, CEO [of] Tesla Motors,” said Balaji Kartikeyan, graduate student and team captain of the Hyperloop Hypershocks.

The Hypershocks will compete in the first SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition where students and independent engineering teams design and build a human-scale pod and test them on a one-mile track in Hawthorne, California.

The final design is due Dec. 23, and selected teams compete in June 2016.

The Hyperloop is a set of tubes that have an inside pressure of 100 Pascal, said sophomore Brent Quade, aerodynamics subgroup team leader of the Hyperloop Hypershocks. The pressure is equal to 150,000 feet above sea level.

The pods will travel in low air pressure at a maximum speed of 760 mph, Quade said.

“That would make a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which is about an eight-hour car ride, a travel time of a little over 30 minutes,” he said.

Kartikeyan said it all started with a job search, which led him to the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition page. He then spoke to his roommate and an academic adviser about competing.

His adviser was enthusiastic and suggested assembling a team.

“Now, here we are, a group of 20 motivated individuals working to show the academic world what Shockers are made of,” Kartikeyan said.

Quade said the Hyperloop will be revolutionary.

“It will be able to connect major cities with fast transport with a ticket for about $15 with one company saying that they have a plan to make it free,” he said. “This technology is also revolutionary because unlike any other super-fast transport system, it is powered by electricity that can come off solar panels on top of the tubes.”

The team is made up of a variety of technical students working on a “real-life engineering project,” Quade said.

“We are getting … experience on engineering new technologies and ultimately engineering the future,” he said. “It is a lot of fun and you get to use what you have learned in the classroom in real world applications.”

The group is looking for interested students to join in the project, Kartikeyan said.

“It will be a great learning experience,” he said. “Anyone interested in taking an untrodden path using not only [his or her] engineering skills but also curiosity, should join the team.”