Delft Hyperloop fourth in competition

Students from Delft Hyperloop with their vehicle in the vacuum tube, in preparation for the final of the Hyperloop Pod Competition 2019.

Last sunday, a student team Delft Hyperloop took part in the final of the Hyperloop Pod Competition 2019 of SpaceX in Los Angeles.

Because of various malfunctions, the vehicle didn’t reach the intended top speed. Nevertheless, the students finished in fourth place.

The goal was to break the speed record of 467 kilometers (290 miles/h) and reach the top speed of 617 kilometers (383 miles). Shortly after the start, the hyperloop stopped and after that, the highest speed rate was 202 kilometers (125 miles/h).

Vacuum tube

On the premises of SpaceX, by Hyperloop creator Elon Musk, they were allowed to show how quickly their hyperloop could shoot through a vacuum-drawn tube of 1 kilometer long.

When the hyperloop after 91 meters stopped, the team was allowed to retrieve its vehicle once more and have it restarted.

“Because the thing is in a vacuum tube, you can’t just open it to study your vehicle. So the cart was only retrieved by an automated system from SpaceX, without the students being able to make any changes, “says TU Delft spokesperson Lenny Bakker.

Hyperloop communication issue

The second time, the failure happened again. The trolley stopped far before the end of the tube. The problem is probably a communication issue, says the team. It is possible that a sensor has supplied incorrect values, which means that the emergency brake is automatically activated.

It’s a huge disappointment because the Hyperloop Atlas 02 capsule of the Dutch team previously reached speeds of over 600 kilometers per hour. Now the team of the Technische Universität München won the race at 465 kilometers (288 miles/h), just below the record.
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Nevertheless, the Delft team realizes that it can be proud of the performance delivered. The Delft Hyperloop was selected out of hundreds of different teams for the California final, together with 21 other teams. After extensive tests in the last few days, only four of them remained, who were allowed to actually let their cart ride in the final. The students have therefore delivered high-level performance.

New team

In a few weeks the current team will hand over the baton to a new team of students. While designing and building their own cart, the new team learns from the knowledge from their colleges, even from their mistakes. In addition, the quality of the vehicles will be better and better.

Elon Musk, founder of the hyperloop challenge, has already announced that the test tube will be extended to 10 kilometers and that there will also be a bend. “This is how he stimulates the teams to keep thinking and developing,” says Bakker.

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