A group of engineering students from the Technical University of Munich has hit the world record for the fastest speeds achieved in the transport mode of the future, the Hyperloop transport system.
First envisaged by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport system that could connect distant places, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, in just 35 minutes. Pods carrying passengers will travel through tubes at break-neck speeds, powered by an electric propulsion system.
The latest competition was the third annual SpaceX pod race and was run by the Musk-owned SpaceX aerospace company in a bid to refine the technologies that could underpin the transport system. It saw the Munich team's pod hit a whopping 290mph on a 1.2 kilometre test track.
This is really the first opportunity to create a new mode of transport
The competition also saw many other student teams from universities around the world, all gathering in California to put their prototype pods to the test. But it was the Munich team, named Warr Hyperloop, which blew the rival capsules off of the track.
Indeed, they didn't even come close. For example, Delft University came in second place at 88mph and EPF Loop, from Switzerland, managed third at 55mph.
However, this time around the competition was a little bit more difficult than previous years as all the pods being tested had to be self-propelled, unlike previous challenges where the pods could rely on a SpaceX-built "pusher" vehicle that helped them travel down the test tube at a faster speed.
Elon Musk dropped in on the competition to chat to some of the competing teams and watch the test runs. "This is really the first opportunity to create a new mode of transport," he told The Verge in an interview.
"That's really what this competition is about - things that could radically transform cities and the way people get around."
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